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GigaOm Radar for Scale-Out File Storagev4.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analysts’ Take

1. Summary

Despite the growing use of object storage, file storage remains one of the most popular ways to store data, both on-premises and in the cloud. Scale-out file storage is becoming the default choice for most organizations for several reasons:

  • Scale-out file storage can expand quickly while increasing throughput.
  • File systems are typically accessed via familiar, established network protocols, like network file system (NFS) and server message block (SMB), making them still the data storage system of choice for a large number of workloads, including big data analytics, artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning (AI/ML/DL), high-performance computing (HPC), and more.
  • Modern file systems are much more scalable than in the past, combining a familiar user interface (UI) and authentication methods with performance and scalability.
  • Legacy applications continue to drive demand for file storage. Usually written to work with POSIX-compliant file systems, the cost of refactoring such applications to benefit from object storage may outweigh the benefits, thus making file storage a preferred option.
  • Modern scale-out solutions are mature and flexible, with most of the complexity now hidden behind the scenes. In the end, managing a large scale-out system is less time-consuming than managing several scale-up systems.
  • Solutions that support data mobility across different environments are becoming increasingly important for executing properly on hybrid IT strategies, and scale-out file storage systems are easy to implement on cloud virtual machine (VM) instances. GigaOm’s recently published “Key Criteria Report for Evaluating Cloud File Storage Solutions” highlights the growing demand for sophisticated file services both on-premises and in the cloud.

Unstructured data accounts for up to 90% of what is stored in enterprise infrastructures. That’s why storage that’s scalable and fast enough to manage interactive workloads is crucial for responding adequately to business needs. Enterprises don’t want to trade scalability and performance for the data services and flexibility they usually get from traditional scale-up network-attached storage (NAS) solutions. With the advent of multicloud capabilities, users want the flexibility to move data to where it’s needed, further increasing the demand for advanced data services. At the same time, users want solutions ready to respond to increasing regulatory requirements, data governance tasks, and risks coming from a growing number of security threats, including ransomware.

This expansion of the IT mission is why scale-out storage systems are much more balanced than in the past and encompass enterprise considerations like scalability, flexibility, efficiency, security, and performance.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key scale-out file storage vendors 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 Scale-Out File Storage Solutions,” we describe in more detail the capabilities and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

This is our fourth year evaluating the scale-out file storage space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. All solutions included in this Radar report meet the following table stakes—capabilities widely adopted and well implemented in the sector:

  • File protocols
  • Data services
  • Tiering
  • Secure operations
  • System management

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.