Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analysts’ Take
Primary storage systems for small businesses have adapted quickly to new needs and business requirements, with data now accessed from both on-premises and cloud applications. We are in a transition phase right now, shifting from storage systems designed to be deployed in data centers to solutions meant for hybrid and multicloud environments, with similar functionalities provided on physical or virtual appliances as well as through managed services.
The ideas underlying primary storage, data, and workloads have changed radically over the past few years. Mission- and business-critical functions in enterprise organizations were concentrated on a few monolithic applications based on traditional relational databases. In this scenario, block storage was often synonymous with primary storage, and performance, availability, and resiliency were prioritized, usually at the expense of flexibility, ease of use, and cost.
Now, after the virtualization wave and the exponential growth of microservices and container-based applications, these platforms have reached a certain level of maturity, and although some key criteria, such as integration with the cloud, are still important, the focus has shifted to improved automation capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI)-based analytics.
Small businesses are looking for versatility and ease of use. Versatile storage solutions should be capable of handling a broad set of use cases in a cost-effective fashion, encompassing traditional block storage uses such as virtualization, databases, and mission-critical workloads, as well as file services and container support.
In addition, small businesses often have to deal with limited IT personnel support and so are seeking solutions that are simple to manage and can ease the heavy burden on IT staff. Improved simplicity and ease of use is the way solutions supporting automation and AI-based analytics with proactive recommendations can make a difference. Furthermore, the prevalence of cybersecurity threats such as ransomware attacks requires organizations to implement a multilayered defense strategy, including more sophisticated data storage. To prevent downtime and data loss, protecting data assets at the source (in production, on primary storage systems) becomes a key aspect of any security strategy.
When it comes to modern storage, and block storage in particular, flash memory and high-speed Ethernet networks have commoditized performance and reduced costs, allowing for more freedom in system design. At the same time, enterprise organizations are working to align storage with broader infrastructure strategies, which address issues such as:
- Better infrastructure agility to respond more quickly to business needs
- Improved data mobility and integration with the cloud
- Support for more concurrent applications and workloads on a single system
- Simplified infrastructure
- Automation and orchestration that speed up and scale operations
- Drastic reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) along with significant increases in the capacity per sysadmin under management
- Better overall energy efficiency to achieve environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives and reduce energy bills
These efforts have contributed to the proliferation of solutions as startups and established vendors alike move to address these needs. Traditional high-end and midrange storage arrays have been joined by software-defined and specialized solutions, all aimed at serving similar market segments but differentiated by their particular focus on the various issues described above. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. In this report, we analyze several aspects and important features of modern storage systems to better understand how they impact the metrics for evaluating block storage systems, especially in relation to the needs of the IT organization.
This GigaOm Radar report highlights key primary storage vendors providing solutions to small businesses and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Primary Storage Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.