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October 23, 2017

Gartner: Top Storage Vendors Taming Unstructured Data

Object storage and distributed file systems are being enlisted to handle the growing volumes of unstructured data in enterprise datacenters, market analyst Gartner Inc. notes in an annual survey of the evolving storage market.

IT infrastructure including software-defined storage is being “deployed on commodity hardware, [and] is emerging as a threat to external controller-based storage arrays in environments with a steep growth of unstructured data,” Gartner concluded in it “Magic Quadrant” rankings of storage vendors.

New and established storage vendors are introducing “scalable storage clustered file systems and object storage products to address cost and scalability limitations in traditional, scale-up storage environments,” the market researcher added in a report released on Oct. 17.

Among those responding most effectively to the growing requirements to storing unstructured data are Dell EMC, cloud storage specialist Scality and IBM (NYSE: IBM) followed by Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), Qumulo and Swiftstack. Gartner also ranked Hitachi’s (TYO: 6501) Vantara storage unit in the “challenger” category of its annual rankings.

The two storage approaches seek to offer scale and faster access to soaring data stores. While distributed file system storage is designed to provide faster data access to multiple hosts simultaneously, emerging object storage serves enterprise data via RESTful APIs on platforms such as OpenStack Swift and Amazon Web Services’ (NASDAQ: AMZN) Simple Storage Service.

Gartner concludes that Dell Technologies, which acquired storage leader EMC last year, has leveraged EMC’s Isilon distributed file system along with Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) to lead the sector. Gartner reckons that Isilon alone accounts for nearly half of total revenue in the sector.

Nevertheless, the market analyst (NYSE: IT) noted a recent version of Isilon does not support online transaction processing. Meanwhile, Isilon and ECS trail the emerging market for hybrid cloud storage platforms.

San Francisco-based Scality, which introduced its Zenko data controller this past summer that targets multi-cloud data storage, was lauded for its aggressive moves into cloud-native and hybrid cloud capabilities “with unified data management.”

Among the few knocks on Scality was a lack of support in its Ring software-defined file and object storage platform for enterprise file share workloads.

Gartner praised IBM for its choice of deployment options across both object storage and distributed file systems, including pre-integrated appliances along with software certified on a variety of third-party hardware manufacturers. “IBM’s [2014] exit from the x86 server hardware business has made it more appealing as a software partner,” Gartner added.

Red Hat’s Ceph storage supports block and object storage, and the open-source vendor was cited for its growing list of use cases ranging from OpenStack private cloud storage along with archiving. Red Hat’s Gluster storage platform supports emerging application container and media streaming applications, Gartner noted. Gluster also was praised for its tight integration with Docker and Kubernestes container orchestrator that enable persistent storage needed to secure workloads processed using containers.

As with OpenStack, however, the report noted that the skills required to deploy and manage these open source storage platforms remain scarce, and learning curves remain steep.

Recent items:

Scality Targets Multi-Cloud Data Storage

Hitachi Adds Enterprise Search to Object Store