Explore 7 software-defined storage companies

Software-defined storage offerings are all over the map, in uses, features and types of platform. These seven software-defined storage companies include several IT giants.

Software-defined storage has revolutionized data storage in recent years. The technology enables organizations to abstract storage allocation and management from the underlying storage hardware.

Numerous vendors offer SDS products, but each has its own approach to the technology. Some offer a range of products, so admins should know how they compare. Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of software-defined storage offerings from seven key vendors.

1. DataCore

DataCore offers two SDS products.

SANsymphony, for block storage, derives high performance from commodity hardware through mechanisms such as parallel I/O and high-speed caching. Admins can also configure SANsymphony for high availability and remote site replication.

VFilO, for file and object storage, can create a unified namespace. It effectively aggregates storage appliances, enabling unified device management and simplified search.

2. Dell Technologies

While many vendors may offer one or two SDS products, Dell has at least five, each with a specific use.

VxRail, for example, is a hyper-converged infrastructure platform for VMware environments. VMware users might also benefit from Dell's UnityVSA, which is a software version of its Unity hardware platform and serves as a VMware virtual appliance. Dell also offers Unity Cloud Edition. Like UnityVSA, Unity Cloud Edition is a software-defined version of the Unity platform, but admins can deploy it in public cloud environments.

In addition, IsilonSD Edge is a software-defined scale-out NAS system that can support multiple workloads. Similarly, Dell offers a highly scalable, software-defined object storage system called ECS.

3. NetApp

NetApp provides SDS capabilities through its OnTap data management software.

OnTap acts as a unified management plane for on-premises and cloud storage. It supports both NetApp storage systems and commodity storage hardware. The OnTap software can allocate or scale storage based on capacity, performance, availability requirements or a combination of the three. Object storage workloads scale up to 176 petabytes.

OnTap provides numerous security features, such as the ability to require multiple administrators to approve certain changes and autonomous ransomware defenses that use machine learning to identify threats.

Additionally, OnTap uses automation to keep storage healthy and secure. The NetApp Active IQ feature acts as an advisor that delivers risk assessments, predictive alerts and prescriptive guidance.

4. Nutanix

Nutanix delivers SDS through its Unified Storage. Nutanix Unified Storage brings siloed data together under a single management interface that works with on-premises and multi-cloud environments.

Nutanix protects managed data through the cloud-based service Data Lens. It takes advantage of Nutanix software's ability to provide a global view of an organization's storage by reporting on data access and data movement. Data Lens also provides comprehensive protection against ransomware. The Nutanix cloud-based ransomware signature database can identify and guard against several thousand types of ransomware.

5. Pure Storage

Pure Storage offers software-defined storage capabilities through its Purity OS, which is on the company's FlashArray line of storage hardware. It uses AI to analyze and monitor the storage hardware to ensure 99.9999% availability.

Purity emphasizes data security with always-on encryption and integrated disaster recovery. Additionally, Purity enables nondisruptive storage upgrades.

6. StarWind

StarWind offers two SDS products.

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance combines compute, networking and storage hardware into a single modular product. Dell, Intel, Mellanox and Nvidia make up the hardware components of StarWind HyperConverged Appliance.

StarWind Virtual SAN is primarily for SMBs, but it also works for edge storage and enterprise remote and branch offices. It acts as highly available (99.9999%) shared storage that is compatible with any hypervisor. Admins can deploy as little as two nodes, with no witness required.

7. StorMagic

StorMagic offers SDS through its SvSAN.

SvSAN is designed primarily for edge computing environments such as branch offices that need SAN-like capabilities, but without the cost of a traditional SAN. SvSAN is versatile and can work with as little as two x86 servers with a gigabyte of RAM each. SvSAN spans two servers to keep data secure and to make it highly available through synchronous mirroring.

Organizations that need even greater availability can optionally deploy a third node. SvSAN works with VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Linux KVM. It acts as a virtual storage appliance.

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