This content is part of the Essential Guide: 2018 data management and storage Products of the Year finalists

Cloud and software-defined storage products: 2018 POY finalists

Multi-cloud data management and container support are themes among the 2018 software-defined and cloud storage finalists of TechTarget's Storage Products of the Year competition.

Multi-cloud data management and container support are prominent themes among this year's finalists in the cloud and software-defined storage products category of Storage magazine and SearchStorage's Products of the Year competition.

Both established vendors and startups have adapted their products to address the needs of customers increasingly storing data across on-premises and public cloud infrastructure and sometimes spanning multiple public clouds.

Another major trend that impacted software-defined storage Products of the Year entries is the growing number of enterprises taking a DevOps approach to deploy applications with greater speed and efficiency. Vendors continue to add functionality to ease storage provisioning for containerized applications.

Products eligible for consideration were designed to run on standard servers -- with no dependencies on the underlying hardware -- and cloud storage. Examples include software that pools or centrally manages storage, file systems and software powering hyper-converged systems that combine storage, compute and virtualization resources.

Find out which cloud and software-defined storage products made the final cut in the Products of the Year competition below. The winners will be announced in February.

AWS Snowball Edge

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Snowball Edge appliances enable customers to collect, process and store data in environments with sporadic or low network connectivity before they ship the hardware back to Amazon. In July, AWS added support for Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances on the Snowball devices, so customers can build and test Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) in the cloud and preload them onto the 100 TB Snowball appliances as part of the ordering process. AWS Lambda functions were the only prior option.

Cloudian HyperStore 7

Object storage specialist Cloudian focused on multi-cloud capabilities in its HyperStore 7 update. Customers can now run HyperStore storage software in the public cloud, as well as manage, protect and search data stored across private and public clouds as a unified storage pool through a single console. HyperStore 7 enables cloud storage access through Amazon's S3 API and a global namespace. The product supports erasure coding across sites for data protection and disaster recovery. It also adds write once, read many capabilities for compliance and ransomware protection.

DataCore SANsymphony and Hyperconverged Virtual SAN PSP7 Release

New features in the PSP7 release DataCore Software Corp. SANsymphony software-defined storage and Hyperconverged Virtual SAN include wizards to automate hyper-converged infrastructure deployments under VMware vSphere management, dynamic mirror path balancing to increase usage density and expanded REST API integration. The PSP7 release also adds support for the Kubernetes PersistentVolume API to deploy and scale containerized applications, as well as the latest Windows Server 2016 technology.

IBM Cloud Object Storage 3.14

A late 2017 update to IBM Cloud Object Storage added concentrated dispersal mode, giving customers an entry-level capacity option at 72 TB and the opportunity to grow their environments incrementally. Another key new feature was a compliance-enabled immutable vault with policy-based locks for users that need to ensure their data isn't deleted or modified. A new self-certification program is designed to streamline the verification process for partners with products that can work with IBM Cloud Object Storage.

Portworx PX-Enterprise

Portworx Inc. technology is one of the software-defined storage products designed to help customers deploy persistent storage with their containerized applications. The startup's 2018 PX-Enterprise updates included a new user interface to manage multi-cloud container clusters and an OpenStorage SDK. The new interface enables engineers to use RESTful APIs to determine how storage is allocated, consumed, encrypted, backed up and managed across clouds. Portworx also added 3DSnap technology for application-consistent snapshots of a group of volumes and new capabilities to encrypt individual Kubernetes volumes with different keys. Portworx now integrates with all major container orchestration systems.

Quobyte Data Center File System 2.0

Quobyte Inc.'s distributed parallel file system is designed to scale storage capacity and performance linearly on commodity server hardware. News features in the second version of the Quobyte Data Center File System include volume mirroring for DR, native drivers for Mac and Windows clients, shared access control lists and full container integration. Quobyte also eased installation and management and created a cloud-based service to help customers with Domain Name System (DNS) service configuration.

Red Hat Ceph Storage 3

Version 3 of Red Hat's distribution of open source Ceph added support for the Ceph file system (CephFS), complementing the software's previously available object and block storage capabilities. Other product updates included containerized storage daemons to enable users to colocate services on host servers rather than isolating them on dedicated hardware, an iSCSI interface for block-level access, a new web interface to monitor distributed storage clusters and usability enhancements to ease maintenance. Red Hat also introduced a revamped tech preview of the performance-boosting BlueStore storage backend.

Scality Zenko 1.0

Scality Inc.’s Zenko infrastructure software is designed to enable customers to control data across private and public clouds. Zenko provides a unified interface to enable users to store, manage and search data spanning multiple clouds. The product stores data in the native format so customers can directly access and act on it. Zenko facilitates advanced metadata search capabilities across storage locations. An extensible workflow engine facilitates policy-based data migration and management over multiple clouds. The software deploys through the Kubernetes orchestration framework. Open source and enterprise editions are available.

SwiftStack 6

The focal point of the sixth release of SwiftStack Inc.’s multi-cloud data management software is new 1space technology designed to facilitate data access, migration and search across private data centers and public clouds. A single namespace spanning on-premises object storage and one or more public cloud sites enables live, non-disruptive data and application migration without the need to change any code. Users can apply policies to ensure data is stored in the optimal location for compute, analytics, archiving and external client or third-party access. SwiftStack contributed its 1space technology to the open source community.

VMware vSAN 6.7

New features in VMware’s vSAN 6.7 hyper-converged infrastructure software include a more intuitive HTML 5 UI that is identical to vSphere’s, vRealize Operations within vCenter to give users visibility across multiple server clusters. VMware also added a "Quickstart" guided cluster creation wizard and additional system health-checking mechanisms. The vSAN 6.7 update also added new features to improve performance, such as Adaptive Resync to ensure adequate I/O resources are available to speed rebuilds after a device failure.

WekaIO Matrix 3.1.7

In the category of software-defined storage products, WekaIO Inc.’s Matrix distributed parallel file system is designed for use with on-premises flash storage and public cloud infrastructure. The software can pool local SSDs into a hot data tier and shift colder data to object storage. Matrix uses a single namespace to present storage to host applications. New features added this year include cloud bursting, encryption of data in flight and at rest, expanded tiering options, support for up to 1,204 snapshots at the file-system level and the ability to push snapshots to object storage.

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