Storage is a hot topic in IT Today. Since Cloud Computing and Big Data have emerged as IT’s top trends, storage has never been so important. I was fortunate to come across the Gartner Magic Quadrant for disk arrays today. Although many smaller more niche storage vendors are making a name for themselves, I wanted to conduct some research among the leaders. I figured I would share some of that information on my blog. PleaseÂ note that Gartner’s analysis was published March 31, 2013. There have been someÂ significantÂ announcements made since then from some of those storage vendors. Nonetheless I think this is a goodÂ indicationÂ and summary of the storage leaders out there today. What I also like is that Gartner (if applicable) mentions the virtual storage offerings each vendor offers.
My intent when writing this blog was to understand what the industry storage leaders are offering today. I found thisÂ exerciseÂ very interesting. I hope this blog can serve as a reference point for anyone looking to possibly invest in additional storage in the nearÂ future for their enterprise.
As we can see from the Diagram below, the 6 usual suspects have emerged as the leaders once again.
Here is summary of the leaders taken from the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Storage & Disk Arrays. In alphabetical order.
Dell products mentioned in this article
DellÂ EqualLogic -Â Dell EqualLogic products are iSCSI-based storage area network (SAN) systems.
DellÂ Compellent -Â AÂ highly virtualized storage solution with automated data management features, including tiering and thin provisioning, for enterprise and cloud computing environments as part of the Fluid Data technology.
Dell is a storage vendor whose portfolio has been created through a series of acquisitions. Dell’sÂ sales force has not learned to sell value, but leads and sells on features, performance and price. ItÂ does not lead from a business solution perspective. Historically, this behavior has not beenÂ successful in the enterprise, but may be successful as array features become standardized andÂ buyers become more price sensitive; however, this transactional selling technique is a risk forÂ customers who require a closer consultative solution-based relationship. Dell is simultaneously tryingÂ to grow system sales in enterprise data centers with its Compellent storage line, while offering theÂ EqualLogic series to SMBs. Compellent storage systems span the midrange and enterprise markets,
and have been upgraded to scale in performance and capacity. Dell also offers the Exanet-basedÂ Fluid File System, which is used with the EqualLogic and Compellent arrays to provide aÂ multiprotocol file and block storage array. Gartner believes Dell’s commitment to developing andÂ owning new innovative storage technologies will improve its ability to provide highly competitiveÂ storage arrays.
EMC products mentioned in this article
EMCÂ VMAXÂ -Â V-Max systems are enterprise-class storage platforms intended for open systems and mainframe computing.
EMCÂ VNXÂ – ReplacingÂ CLARiiON and Celerra products in 2011. Unified storage with unsurpassed simplicity and efficiency, optimized for virtual applications.
EMCÂ VPLEXÂ – AÂ virtual storage solution introduced by EMC in May 2010. VPLEX implements a distributed “virtualization” layer within and across geographically disparate Fibre Channel storage area networks and Data Centers.
EMC ViPR – EMC’s initiative around Software Defined Storage.
EMC is known as the disk storage market leader. EMC management has a vision for improving disk storage,Â understands the power of effective marketing and sales, and is willing to invest heavily in internalÂ development activities, acquisitions, marketing programs and events to ensure that it can set marketÂ expectations. EMC has tightly integrated its VPLEX with VMware to enhance the attractiveness of theÂ EMC VMAX and VNX storage systems in virtualized server environments. EMC is continuing to enhance VMAX, VNX and Isilon series performance,Â functionality, software agents and management tools to improve ease of use and value.
IBMÂ products mentioned in this article
IBMÂ Pure SystemsÂ -Â IBM’s family of expert integrated systems is built for cloud, big data & analytics.
IBMÂ SmartCloudÂ – Marketed under the nameÂ IBM SmartCloud, IBM offers IAAS services to enterprises of various sizes.
IBMÂ DS8870 series -Â IBM System Storage DS8000 is designed for high performance, reliability, and flexibility and works in a range of open server operating environments and theÂ IBM System zmainframe.
IBMÂ Storwize V7000 -Â IBM Storwize systems are virtualizingÂ RAIDÂ storage systems with raw storage capacities up to 1.44PB.
IBMÂ SONAS -Â IBM enterprise storage platform based on GPFS technology. This system implementsÂ NASÂ based protocols over a large-scale global name space.
IBMÂ Nseries -Â The IBM N Series solutions are rebrandedÂ NetAppÂ FAS arrays, with multiprotocol architecture that natively implements block- and file- based protocols (FCP, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, FCoE). The system is designed to offer application integration and storage efficiency, with block level de-duplication on primary data and other features.
IBM is the second-largest vendor in the storage market. IBM has chosen to concentrate on high growth business verticals (healthcare, government, finance, telco), midsize and enterprise usersÂ where it has advantages in knowledge and professional services It also concentrates on emerging high-growth markets,Â such as Africa, China, India, Russia and the Middle East. IBM is also entering the appliance marketÂ with its Pure Systems appliances that combine server, software, storage and networking into anÂ integrated pretested solution. IBM plans to enter the cloud market with its SmartCloud initiatives.
Like other companies with large portfolios, IBM has decided to sell storage arrays containing its ownÂ intellectual property. This will help it better control its business, lower the cost of goods and workÂ with partners in smaller markets, such as high-performance computing. IBM’s current storageÂ portfolio includes the high-end DS8870 series; the scale-out XIV; the midrange Storwize V7000,Â which supports SAN and NAS protocols and in-line data compression that is often performanceÂ neutral to positive; and two NAS offerings: the Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) and Nseries.
Hitachi productsÂ mentioned in this article
Hitachi VSP – Hitachi claims their Virtual Storage Platform is the onlyÂ 3-D scaling storage platform designed for all data types.
Hitachi HUS -Â Hitachi Unified Storage VM can manage all of your existing storage and consolidate all of your data in a single, virtualized platform to ease the management of information.
HitachiÂ NASÂ -Â Hitachi NAS Platform (HNAS) and Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) file module are advanced, high performance and highly scalable network attached storage (NAS) systems. HNAS is a competitive solution with active-active clustering (2 to 8 nodes), single namespace up to maximum capacity, multiprotocol file services, native tiering and migration, virtualized file systems and the most usable capacity.
Hitachi Command Suite -Â Hitachi Command Suite is integrated storage management software which simplifies and automates management tasks to streamline application availability, performance and access to critical data.
Hitachi is a large multibillion-dollar company with diverse global activities and is responsible forÂ selling and supporting its disk storage solutions in Japan. Hitachi Data Systems usesÂ a combination of direct and indirect go-to-market models to reach its target markets. Hitachi DataÂ Systems’ core disk storage offerings include the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), a leadingÂ high-end disk storage platform, the Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) platforms for the midrangeÂ markets, the Hitachi NAS (HNAS), an emerging offering for the NAS market, and the recentlyÂ announced HUS VM entry-level enterprise system that blends the modular HUS hardware and VSPcompatibleÂ software. To simplify management of mixed infrastructures, the Hitachi Command SuiteÂ consolidates management of Hitachi Data Systems disk storage platforms under a common tool.
HP productsÂ mentioned in this article
HPÂ Enterprise Virtual Array – Originally part of the Compaq portfolio, the EVA orÂ Enterprise Virtual ArrayÂ is an enterprise storage disk array sold by HP.
HP 3PAR StoreServ -Â HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage is a family of modern storage systems with Tier-1 models that range from less than $40,000 to multi-million dollar systems found in the worldâ€™s largest cloud data centers.
HP StoreVirtual 4000 -Â HP StoreVirtual 4000 Storage, based on the LeftHand operating system, is a scale-out storage platform that is designed to meet the fluctuating needs of virtualized environments.Â Its software-defined storage VSA software, and ProLiant rack and BladeSystem-based hardware models provide options to fit any infrastructure and budget.
HPÂ StoreOnce – Make a choice between the iSCSI or Virtual Storage Appliance models.Â HP StoreOnce VSA eliminates the need for dedicated infrastructure and enables efficient data mobility from remote sites to centralized data centers.
HP StoreAll -Â Supporting file and object in the worldâ€™s most scalable storage platform for unstructured data, HP StoreAll Storage is hyperscale, harnessed, instant, economic storage for todayâ€™s and tomorrowâ€™s datacenter
HP is managing a diverse portfolio of storage systems. The portfolio includes the P4000 (akaÂ LeftHand Networks); the older P6000 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) series that still has a largeÂ installed base; the 3PAR StoreServ series that, with the addition of new entry-level models, isÂ providing users with a common architecture growth path that stretches from entry-level two-node toÂ large eight-node configurations; the XP P9000 series, for which Hitachi is the OEM; and an NASÂ business that is still dominated by solutions based on Microsoft Storage Server.
HP’s decision to concentrate its R&D investments on fewer competitive products does not appear toÂ be a reaction to the company’s financial difficulties. Instead, the move recognizes the need to keepÂ the 3PAR StoreServ and StoreOnce/StoreAll architectures competitive in a rapidly evolvingÂ marketplace by focusing R&D resources on executing faster against HP’s much improved productÂ road map. The results of this concentration of R&D resources on HP’s two strategic architectures areÂ mixed. 3PAR feature and functional enhancements are being announced with some regularity, butÂ the R&D investments have not yet resulted in a cadence of NAS feature enhancements, and P4000Â enhancements have focused primarily on repackaging to run on blade servers and in virtualÂ machines.
NetAppÂ productsÂ mentioned in this article
NetApp FAS -Â NetApp Fabric-Attached Storage (FAS), or NetApp’s network attached storage (NAS) device are NetApp’s offering in the area of storage systems. A FAS functions in an enterprise-class storage area network (SAN) as well as a networked storage appliance. It can serve storage over a network using file-based protocols such as NFS, CIFS, FTP, TFTP, and HTTP.
NetAppÂ Data OntapÂ -Â The Data ONTAP operating system implements a single proprietary file-system calledÂ WAFL. When used for file storage, Data ONTAP acts as an NFS server and/or a CIFS server, serving files to bothÂ Unix-likeÂ clients and toÂ Microsoft WindowsÂ clients from the same file systems.
NetApp V Series -Â NetApp V-Series uses the power of Data ONTAP to make your third-party storage more efficient and flexible.Â NetApp V-Series open storage controllers enable management of storage arrays from multiple vendors.
NetApp has two unified storage offerings, the FAS and V Series, that are built on a common softwareÂ architecture and marketed as general-purpose storage. The FAS Series makes up the majority ofÂ NetApp’s sales. The V Series is an in-band virtualization appliance that enables users to provisionÂ their NAS storage requirements with SAN storage and use the same management interface, featuresÂ and replication services across NAS and SAN storage.
NetApp is focused on improving FAS and V Series’ competitiveness in large mission-criticalÂ environments. Early signs are promising, but this is still a work in progress that requires ongoingÂ improvements in marketing, sales, product features and professional services. NetApp bases itsÂ appeal as a channel and technology partner on the following: It holds double-digit market share,Â which makes it an attractive technology and VAR partner; it does not threaten to compete against itsÂ technology partners; it works with ISVs to build and maintain a large ecosystem; it is quick toÂ integrate with important middleware from vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft and VMware; and itÂ continues to invest in keeping its storage arrays competitive.
Thank you to Gartner’s research for providing us the information and the strengths & weaknesses for the vendor’s mentioned in this blog.