This content is part of the Essential Guide: Data storage systems: 2016 Products of the Year finalists

Server-based storage: 2016 Products of the Year finalists emerge

2016 Products of the Year finalists revealed for category encompassing hyper-converged appliances and software-defined storage that runs on commodity server hardware.

Server-based storage finalists in the 2016 Storage magazine/SearchStorage Products of the Year competition include a mix of new and updated products that reflect the growing trend to use commodity hardware to store enterprise data.

Products eligible in the server-based storage category included hyper-converged appliances that combine storage, compute, networking and virtualization in one box; software-defined storage systems; and software that pools and centrally manages storage capacity across servers. The storage software could be sold standalone or bundled with hardware appliances.

Caringo SwarmNFS

Caringo SwarmNFS is a lightweight file protocol converter that runs as a stateless Linux process on a physical server or virtual machine (VM). SwarmNFS streams data in parallel between NFSv4 applications and Caringo Swarm scale-out object storage. The software eliminates the need for resource-intensive caching and staging to move files to object storage.

Cloudistics Ignite

Cloudistics calls its Ignite on-premises cloud infrastructure "superconverged." It combines storage, network, compute, open source KVM virtualization, management and the cloud. Ignite is delivered as an appliance and runs on industry-standard hardware.

DataCore Hyper-converged Virtual SAN (PSP5 Update)

DataCore says the PSP5 update to its Hyper-converged Virtual SAN can improve performance by up to 50% over prior releases. The maximum capacity of the high-speed cache increased from 1 TB to 8 TB per node. Other new features include deeper integration with VMware and Microsoft hypervisors, improved performance monitoring tools, and more granular quality of service and access controls at the virtual disk level.

Datrium DVX

The Datrium DVX converged server-based storage system uses customer-supplied, host-based flash cache for I/O services and active data and a Datrium-supplied NetShelf back-end appliance for persistent storage. Customers manage it through VMware vSphere. Datrium claims DVX performs faster than all-flash arrays and lowers the per-GB cost of flash.

DriveScale System

DriveScale asserts its integrated hardware and software system "is to Hadoop what VMware is to virtualization." DriveScale enables users to manage and scale standard servers and commodity storage separately or combine them in any ratio based on application demands. DriveScale consists of management server software and agents that combine compute and storage components into logical nodes, a hardware appliance, and a cloud-based service called DriveScale Central.

Formation Data Systems FormationOne

Formation Data Systems' FormationOne is distributed, fault-tolerant software-defined storage that runs on commodity hardware and tiers virtual volumes across solid-state drives (SSDs) and/or hard disk drives (HDDs). Features include transactional data journaling and continuous data protection with integrated snapshots and clones, policy-based quality of service, single-origin data deduplication, anomaly detection analytics, and virtual storage recapture.

Pivot3 vStac SLX

Pivot3's vStac SLX unites its scale-out hyper-converged infrastructure and erasure coding with the NexGen PCI Express (PCIe) flash array and dynamic quality-of-service software it acquired in January. Management is through a VMware vCenter Server plugin, which lets the user provision storage services at a VM level.

Portworx PX-Enterprise

Portworx PX-Enterprise server-based storage's capabilities include per-container storage management, container-granular snapshots and replication, multi-cluster and predictive capacity management, and global file namespace. PX-Enterprise storage deploys as a container, runs on commodity servers and/or in the cloud, and requires Docker.

Red Hat Ceph Storage 2

Red Hat Ceph is based on the Ceph open source project and supports block and storage on commodity server nodes. The new version integrates with Red Hat Storage Console to ease deployment, management and monitoring. New object storage features include global clustering with a single namespace and data synchronization between clusters; support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Microsoft's Active Directory authentication; enhanced compatibility with Amazon S3 and OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) APIs; and replication of virtual block devices across regions.

Scale Computing HC1150 Hybrid System

Scale Computing's HC1150 hyper-converged appliance uses a cluster-wide storage pool with SSD and HDD tiers. "Scribe" and "Heat" technologies provide direct block access storage to VMs with automated I/O "heat mapping" and customizable tiering between flash and disk. The HC1150 targets midmarket and SMB customers and uses the same software as Scale Computing's larger HC2150 and HC4150 hyper-converged appliances.

SUSE Enterprise Storage 3

SUSE Enterprise Storage 3 is based on open-source Ceph software and runs on commodity hardware. The product update includes early access to new features such as native file system access (Ceph FS), multi-site object replication, and asynchronous replication of block images across clusters.

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2

VMware's Virtual SAN 6.2 hyper-converged infrastructure software adds inline data deduplication and compression on flash-based server nodes to reduce the storage footprint. Other new features include erasure coding to protect data and increase usable storage capacity, and quality of service to manage IOPS consumed by each VM and curb "noisy neighbor" issues that can affect performance.

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