The 50 Coolest Software-Defined Storage Vendors: The 2024 Storage 100

As part of CRN’s 2024 Storage 100, here are 50 vendors bringing software capabilities, services and cloud connectivity to storage technology.

The base of nearly any storage system is hardware. But look closely at the hardware, and a distinct pattern appears: The hardware is likely to be an industry-standard server with industry-standard processors, industry-standard storage media and industry-standard memory.

The real value of storage systems, with few exceptions, lies in their software, not their hardware. Software is where the services provided by storage systems—the ability to store and manage and protect primary and secondary data—is provided. For this reason, storage system vendors typically have much larger software engineering teams than they do teams focused on hardware. Software teams define the value of storage.

For this reason, the list of the 50 coolest software-defined storage vendors includes companies ranging from the smallest providers to the likes of NetApp and Dell. They are well-recognized as hardware vendors. However, the list also includes providers of cloud storage where the end customers may not even touch hardware. All these companies are united by the fact that software does indeed define the storage.

As part of CRN’s 2024 Storage 100, here are 50 vendors bringing software capabilities, services and cloud connectivity to storage technology.

Advanced Computer & Network Corp.

Gene Leyzarovich

President, CEO

AC&NC provides a wide range of data storage, data protection and data management for NAS, SAN, cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure deployments, as well as storage expansion, servers, switches and adapters to build complete systems. The company also pairs its all-flash and hybrid systems with third-party offerings such as CyberFortress to add data protection and security.

Amax Information Technologies

Jean Shih


Amax is a vertically integrated infrastructure manufacture with a focus on server, workstation and storage technologies under its own brand and on an OEM basis. Amax, which in late 2023 held its IPO on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, last year expanded its capabilities with new liquid and immersion cooling technology and the latest Nvidia GPUs.


Hock Tan

President, CEO

As if Broadcom was already not a big enough developer of storage technologies—thanks to multiple acquisitions it produces a wide range of storage adapters, controllers, ICs, and storage networking equipment—the company in 2023 became a leader in software-defined storage technology with its massive acquisition of VMware from former parent company Dell Technologies.


Michael Tso

Co-Founder, CEO

Cloudian specializes in the development of Amazon S3-compatible object storage systems aimed at managing the complicated unstructured data requirements of a wide range of businesses. It does so via its HyperStore object storage platform, as well as its HyperStore File Services for capacity-intensive, less frequently used files. The company also offers observability and analytics and load-balancing technologies.


Martin Verges


Croit develops storage software appliances based on the open-source Red Hat Ceph technology to provide unified, software-defined, scale-out storage that works with block, file and object formats at a low cost per Gigabyte. The company late last year also started providing storage software appliances using the Intel DAOS technology to provide low-latency storage for high-performance environments.

Ctera Networks

Oded Nagel


Ctera provides technology for secure file services via a platform that manages enterprises’ file storage, control and governance requirements. The Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform unifies endpoint, branch office and cloud file services via a cloud-native global file system to enable multi-cloud data management with full control over data residency, security and edge-to-cloud acceleration.


Dave Zabrowski


Datacore is one of the pioneers in software-defined storage, offering its storage technology in software-only form for use with customers’ own hardware platforms. The company most recently extended its software-defined object storage capabilities to the edge via its Agile Containerized Deployments and introduced SANsymphony Adaptive Data Placement for automatic tiering.


Alex Bouzari

Chairman, Co-Founder, CEO

DDN, the world’s largest privately held storage vendor, develops a comprehensive portfolio of storage systems targeting data-intensive workflows across on-premises and cloud infrastructures for use cases in oil and gas, supercomputing, AI, financial services, manufacturing, telecom and more. DDN in November unveiled DDN Infinia, which provides multitenancy, containerization and performance aimed primarily at accelerated computing for generative AI.

Dell Technologies

Michael Dell

Founder, Chairman, CEO

Dell remains the world’s largest storage vendor thanks to multiple acquisitions, but it is not resting on its laurels. The company is plunging head-first into as-a-service and subscription storage via its Dell Apex portfolio with elastic file, block and backup storage services. The company’s PowerScale storage systems in November were validated on Nvidia DGX SuperPod for AI storage.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Antonio Neri

President, CEO

HPE has been the second-largest storage vendor for years, primarily on the strength of its HPE Alletra portfolio. Alletra is the center of its HPE GreenLake cloud and as-a-service offerings, including moves in early 2024 to introduce HPE GreenLake services for block storage and file storage. The company in November also unveiled a collaboration with Nvidia for GenAI.

Hitachi Vantara

Sheila Rohra


Hitachi Vantara, which in 2017 was formed by the combination of Hitachi Data Systems storage and data center infrastructure, Hitachi Insight IoT, and Pentaho big data businesses, reorganized again last November to focus on its block, file, object, mainframe, and software-defined storage and hybrid cloud-centric data infrastructure services portfolios. The company also has a leading storage virtualization technology.


Zhengfei Ren

Director, CEO

China-based Huawei remains one of the world’s largest producers of storage systems despite having virtually no U.S. market share due to concerns about alleged China government ties. Huawei late 2023 introduced two new all-flash arrays, including the OceanStor Pacific 9920 scale-out array with up to 768-TB capacity in 2U, and the OceanStor Dorado 2100 all-flash active-active NAS system.


Arvind Krishna

Chairman, CEO

IBM develops a wide range of storage hardware, software and software-defined storage aimed at general storage, AI, hybrid cloud and data resilience requirements, much of which starting last year has been integrated with open source Ceph technologies from IBM’s Red Hat acquisition. The company has most recently added several AI-focused storage systems to its line card.


James Bressington

Founder, CEO

IceDrive is a developer of cloud storage designed to look as if attached to a PC. The company provides Web-based, desktop and mobile apps for sharing and collaborating on a customer’s stored data. Its encrypted cloud storage uses the twofish algorithm, which the company says is more secure than AES.

Impossible Cloud

Kai Wawrzinek

Co-Founder, CEO

Impossible Cloud develops a decentralized cloud storage architecture built on a global network of enterprise-grade data centers. The company says that its architecture provides secure storage for big data, data backups and archives at a lower cost than hyperscalers can offer. With its S3 API compatibility, it integrates with a wide range of cloud storage applications.


Phil Bullinger


Infinidat develops enterprise-grade storage technology for AIOps and DevOps, data storage, cyber resiliency, data protection and recovery, business continuity and sovereign cloud storage. All of the company’s storage capabilities are based on the same fundamental technology foundation that offers high availability, high performance, and low total cost of ownership at multi-petabyte scale.


Jacob Cherian


Ionir develops a Kubernetes-native storage and data management platform the company says adopts to technology changes and evolving customer requirements without the need for forklift upgrades. Its technology lets businesses run any applications wherever and whenever needed without the need to worry about whether the data is there or not.


Mike Lauth

Co-Founder, CEO

iXsystems develops the open-source storage technology behind TrueNAS, which with over 15 million downloads is the world’s most deployed NAS technology, the company says. The TrueNAS platform is based on the ZFS file system, which provides scale-up and scale-out unified storage. iXsystems is a profitable, self-funded company with no outside investors.


Yuanqing Yang

Chairman, CEO

Lenovo, one of the world’s largest server manufacturers, is also a major storage power with a full range of unified SAN and NAS offerings, as well as traditional SAN and direct-attach storage. The company also partners with Nutanix, Microsoft and VMware to develop hyperconverged infrastructure appliances and develops storage aimed at AI. Lenovo also provides storage management software.

Lightbits Labs

Eran Kirzner

Co-Founder, CEO

Lightbits Labs is a pioneer developer of the high-performance NVMe/TCP protocol, which is based on standard Ethernet networking, and now develops software-defined block storage technology with built-in intelligent flash management that lets businesses leverage lower-cost QLC SSDs. The company’s disaggregated storage architecture works on any commodity hardware or public cloud.


Philipp Reisner

Co-Founder, CEO

Linbit is the company behind the open-source DRBD and LINSTOR storage software. DRBD is the distributed replicated storage system integrated in the Linux kernel. The company’s product line includes storage for high availability, disaster recovery, software-defined storage, storage replication, virtualization, OEM, cloud data services and flash storage. Linbit also develops storage for Kubernetes containers.


Edgar Masri


Liqid develops a composable infrastructure that leverages industry-standard data center components to deliver a scalable architecture built from pools of disaggregated compute, networking, storage, GPU, FPGA and other resources that are interconnected over intelligent fabrics to deliver dynamically configurable bare-metal servers with the exact physical resources required by each deployed application.


George Kurian


NetApp is the largest independent branded storage manufacturer, as well as the pioneer in connecting on-premises storage to public and hybrid clouds to manage data using the same tools wherever that data is located. NetApp in the past couple of years became the first major vendor to make its storage technology available to run natively on the top three hyperscalers.


Dan Shimmerman


Nexsan has been developing its Unity enterprise-class unified storage systems and Assureon archive storage systems for a couple of decades and most recently introduced its new Unity NV6000, which supports immutable snapshots, S3 compatibility and disk-to-disk backup. The company in 2023 was acquired by Serene Investment Management, and it also brought back its former marketing and sales chiefs.


Rajiv Ramaswami

President, CEO

Nutanix was the pioneer of hyperconverged infrastructure and over the years expanded its product line to include its own hypervisor, cloud infrastructure and management, unified storage and endpoint computing. The company last year became a darling of Wall Street investors as it became the top alternative for customers and channel partners of VMware, which was acquired by Broadcom.


Krzysztof (Kristof) Franek

President, CEO

Open-E’s flagship technology, Open-E JovianDSS, is ZFS- and Linux-based data storage software designed for businesses of any size. Open-E JovianDSS can be used to architect storage environments with iSCSI, Fibre Channel, NFS, and SMB (CIFS) protocols using physical or virtual servers. It can also be used for data protection, disaster recovery and archiving.


Izhar Sharon


OpenDrives develops storage that is primarily used by most major media and entertainment companies. The company’s Atlas Core software-defined storage technology includes intelligence such as data caching and per-client bandwidth throttling to manage data. It connects seamlessly with S3-based public cloud storage services, as well as other storage technologies via open standards.


Steven Umbehocker

Founder, CEO

OSNexus is the developer of the QuantaStor software-defined storage platform, a unified file, block and object storage platform that addresses a broad set of storage needs, including backup, archive, server virtualization, big data, cloud computing and high-performance storage for HPC environments. QuantaStor includes end-to-end security for data protection at rest or in transit.


Ken Claffey


Panasas is known for the Panasas PanFS data engine, which the company says eliminates the trade-off between storage performance and ease of use for AI/ML training, research and simulation workflows in life sciences, energy, computer-aided engineering, media and entertainment, and government. It is at the center of Panasas’ ActiveStor Ultra storage systems targeting high-performance computing and AI workloads.


Dan Waldschmidt


Panzura’s claim to fame is its CloudFS global file system that allows access to any file from anywhere at any time. CloudFS consolidates data from multiple locations into a single authoritative data source that’s deduplicated, compressed and protected against ransomware. It dynamically coordinates where files are stored and cached and who has edit and access rights.


Mark Klarzynski

Founder, CEO

Peak:AIO has a focus on software-defined storage built for optimizing AI applications. The company’s software is deployed on servers built by companies such as Dell to create what it calls an AI Data Server featuring the low latency and high bandwidth needed to optimize GPU utilization, particularly for midscale GPU clusters.

QNAP Systems

Teddy Kuo

Founder, Chairman

QNAP, a.k.a. Quality Network Appliance Provider, develops storage, networking and video software and hardware, and has in-house manufacturing. The company’s Cloud NAS technology allows businesses to develop their own cloud-based infrastructure for use with applications including AI analysis, edge computing and integration with physical QNAP appliances. QNAP last year introduced its myQNAPcloud storage service.


Jamie Lerner

Chairman, CEO

Quantum develops storage technology to help businesses securely enrich, orchestrate, protect and archive video and unstructured data at scale. The company’s technology lets users monitor and manage data movement between its Myriad cloud-native scale-out file and object software for petabytes of flash storage or its StorNext shared storage file system, and its ActiveScale software for low-cost archiving.


Bill Richter

President, CEO

Qumulo develops technology to simplify unstructured data management for exabyte-scale workloads in any location with a single software application for cost-effectively storing, managing and curating data at the edge, in core data centers, or in the Microsoft Azure cloud. The company offers cloud-native capabilities around scalable file services, cold file data and Azure virtual desktop profile services.

Scale Computing

Jeff Ready

Co-Founder, CEO

Scale Computing is an early developer of hyper-converged infrastructure with its Scale Computing integrated platform for running virtual machines. The company has long touted itself as a low-cost alternative to VMware, and with the 2023 acquisition of VMware by Broadcom, Scale Computing has found ways to take its competitive messaging to a much higher level.


Jerome Lecat


Scality builds software-defined technology for managing data across use cases on any server or the cloud. The company’s hyperscale distributed systems allow seamless growth to any capacity or performance required, and scales out to multiple applications in multitenancy environments. The software deploys on industry-standard server hardware and is sold on a subscription based on usable capacity.


Phil Straw

Co-Founder, CEO

SoftIron’s HyperCloud allows businesses to build on-premises infrastructure that behaves like a public cloud, starting with the storage layer on which the company also added compute nodes and interconnects. The HyperCloud nodes are spun up with storage and compute capacity as needed, with the resources going back to the resource pool as a workload spins down.

Spectra Logic

Nathan Thompson


Spectra Logic develops hardware and software for storing, protecting and managing data. At its heart is software for managing storage workflows and unifying data across on-premises and cloud infrastructures. The company’s BlackPearl S3 hybrid cloud storage creates tiers of on-premises object-based disk and tape storage that extends to the cloud. Spectra Logic also remains a leader in tape technology.


Mo Tahmasebi

Founder, CEO, President

StoneFly is the developer of the StoneFusion storage virtualization operating system, which is at the heart of the company’s SAN, NAS and hyperconverged systems and appliances. The company also offers cloud storage as a service, including cloud-based NAS and SAN, data protection and cloud storage in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and the StoneFly private cloud.


Gal Naor

Co-Founder, CEO

StorOne uses software-defined storage to create what it calls the Virtual Storage Container, which isolates the logical storage functionality from the physical hardware. It pools storage resources from multiple hardware vendors and the cloud to allow resource-competitive workloads to co-exist in the same platform. Data is protected with electronic “air-gapping” and unlimited snapshots

StorPool Storage

Boyan Ivanov

Co-Founder, CEO

StorPool Storage develops block-level storage technology software aimed at replacing traditional SAN, all-flash arrays and other hardware by leveraging standard servers to build scalable shared storage systems. The company also develops a monitoring platform for StorPool deployments, along with analytics technology and tools for providing enterprise-grade managed services with mission-critical support.


Tom Flink


Sunlight develops the Sunlight HyperConverged Edge, a full-stack, bare-metal virtualization platform combining the compute, storage and networking of one to multiple servers into a single system or cluster that can be deployed in a remote location to consolidate multiple instances of Windows, Linux and containers on x86, AMD, Arm and Nvidia Jetson-based hardware.


Charles Liang

Founder, Chairman, President, CEO

Supermicro is a major data center infrastructure manufacturer, with a line card that includes servers, storage, networking and workstations. The company has become one of Nvidia’s top technology partners, with a wide range of high-performance storage systems aimed at GPU-based systems and AI workloads, in addition to enterprise workloads and high-performance computing.


Derren Lu


Synology manufactures servers, storage, networking and surveillance systems. The company’s range of NAS and SAN appliances are available in tower and rackmount format, including all-flash arrays, highly-scalable arrays and general-purpose storage. The company also has offerings for seamless file sync and share, backing up of surveillance data, cloud backups and cloud monitoring of storage performance.

Vast Data

Renen Hallak

Founder, CEO

Vast Data builds a storage platform targeting AI, including data on performance-hungry GPU-based systems. The Vast Data Platform ingests unstructured data and adds context to do analysis based on that data. It provides a single global namespace that includes all of an organization’s data from the edge to the cloud to simplify management and make it available in any location.


Yan Ness


VergeIO’s autonomous infrastructure leverages cutting-edge technologies, including AI and automation to create self-managing, self-optimizing IT infrastructures. The technology virtualizes and pools the compute, network, storage and GPU resources of bare-metal servers to create multitenant nested virtual data centers or support disparate workloads. A virtual SAN provides scale-out architecture for large data stores and NAS volumes.


Jeanne Glass

Founder, CEO

VirtualZ develops technology that moves data between IBM Z mainframe servers and cloud or on-premises applications and vice versa. The company, which late 2023 exited stealth with $2.2 million in seed funding, is tackling the need for mainframes to run data on the cloud or for cloud applications to run mainframe data without needing custom coding for each instance.


Amir Faintuch


Volumez develops a composable architecture for running block and file storage in the cloud that separates the storage control plane, hosted in the Volumez cloud, from the storage data plane, which runs on-premises or in virtual private clouds. The software allows developers to request NVMe storage resources similar to how they request CPU and memory resources in Kubernetes.


Liran Zvibel

Co-Founder, CEO

WekaIO’s Weka Data Platform grabs data from storage silos to build dynamic data pipelines spanning edge, core and cloud environments for workloads like AI, machine learning, and high-performance computing. Data is stored in a single namespace spanning NVMe and object storage, with total capacity scaling to billions of files and over 14 exabytes.


Yoram Novick


Zadara provides fully managed, enterprise-class cloud services including compute, storage and networking aimed at service providers. Its zStorage offering provides block, file or object storage and allows hosting partners’ customers to choose the protocol, capacity, performance, location and data management based on their needs. It provides such services as multi-zone availability, disaster recovery, snapshots, backup to object and cloud migration.