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The top data storage and management tools of 2021

Software focused on large-scale data management and storage in expanding environments won in this year's Products of the Year storage system and application software category.

Winners in the storage system and application software category of the Storage magazine and SearchStorage 2021 Products of the Year competition continue the trend of supporting Kubernetes. However, managing storage environments at scale has become a new focus.

Last year, winning products supported multiple clouds as customers transitioned more of their infrastructure out of their data centers in response to COVID-19. As customers deploy more infrastructure in the cloud, their needs have shifted to better management tools for their large, complex and geographically distributed storage environments.

Such environments make it difficult for managers to maintain performance optimization, cost optimization, data governance, compliance and other storage-related parameters. Additionally, without tools to manage the data and the storage it lives on, customers will have difficulty making full use of their data sets for analytics and business intelligence. This problem is further complicated by nonstop data growth.

The storage system and application software category is a broad one, so it's not unusual that the top three products aren't directly comparable to each other. This year, the winners are a Kubernetes platform, a flash array and an unstructured data management as-a-service product. The common thread among them is they help customers handle data storage and management at scale.

Gold winner: Portworx Enterprise 2.8

Portworx by Pure Storage is a Kubernetes data services platform that provides persistent storage, data protection, automated capacity management and other functionalities for applications running on Kubernetes. The software itself runs entirely from containers in Kubernetes and can build storage pools from local storage clusters, external storage arrays and major public cloud providers. These providers include AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Portworx Enterprise 2.8 enables customers to run Kubernetes applications at a large scale. It introduced integrations with Pure Storage's products, giving the platform new capabilities, such as dynamic storage provisioning on FlashArray and FlashBlade, unified environment visibility and predictive analysis through the Pure1 storage management software.

Portworx Enterprise 2.8
The Portworx Enterprise 2.8 Spec Generator enables users to select their cloud platform and configure their storage devices.

One judge called Portworx Enterprise 2.8 the "best in category when looking at storage and data management for cloud-native workloads," adding that it "seamlessly blends workload and storage management." The consensus among judges is that the product addresses important scaling needs as customers move Kubernetes into production.

One judge noted that while Portworx Enterprise 2.8 is a good fit for developers, it may take some adjustment for traditional storage and IT administrators to use.

Silver winner: Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform

Pavilion Data Systems Inc.'s HyperParallel flash array and its HyperOS software combine to deliver a high-performance storage system. The product claims up to 120 GBps read at 100 microseconds (µs) latency and 90 GBps of write at 25 µs latency measured at the host. The HyperParallel Data Platform is built like a network switch, enabling support for up to 20 independent controllers and 72 drives.

HyperOS 3.0 added significant improvements to the platform, including a global namespace for NFS and S3, data versioning, a native file system called Pavilion HyperParallel File System and support for containerized applications on its multicontroller infrastructure.

Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform
The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform management interface includes metrics for IOPS, latency and bandwidth on its main dashboard.

One judge described Pavilion's storage platform as "highly innovative from first release," praising its unique method of handling multiprotocol support by running each protocol natively on separate controllers. Another judge praised the system's ability to handle block, file and object simultaneously.

One judge pointed out Pavilion's new versioning ability as a basic way to detect and correct for bit rot, a problem that occurs in large SSD arrays regardless of vendor. Judges also generally praised the containerized application support.

Bronze winner: Komprise Intelligent Data Management 4.0

Repeating as the bronze winner in the storage system and application software category, Komprise's software enables customers to analyze, migrate and replicate data across storage silos, regardless if it resides in flash, hard disk, object or cloud storage. The product is designed to help customers understand their entire data estate by abstracting data from the storage it lives on and unifying it on a single namespace. This consolidated view, combined with built-in analysis tools, helps customers identify better ways to use their data or optimize storage.

Komprise Intelligent Data Management 4.0 enables multisite setup to allow for more granular data management. Each site can have its own data storage and management policies tuned to its individual needs and security requirements, and a centralized dashboard provides administrators with a consolidated view across all sites. The update also introduced global search and analytics, enabling customers to run custom queries on all unstructured data across an organization's infrastructure.

Komprise Intelligent Data Management 4.0
The Komprise Intelligent Data Management 4.0 centralized dashboard provides administrators with a consolidated view across all sites.

Komprise directly addresses two major storage concerns: unstructured data growth and making use of data, one judge said.

"A good data management product is worth its weight in gold these days, and Komprise's multisite hybrid cloud data management fits in with what many enterprises are working on," the judge added.

Find out who won top honors in each of the five categories in the Storage magazine and SearchStorage 2021 Products of the Year competition.

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