The 50 Coolest Software-Defined Storage Vendors: The 2023 Storage 100
The 50 coolest software-defined storage vendors of the 2023 Storage 100 bring software capabilities, services and cloud connectivity to storage technology.
For all the emphasis on speeds and feeds, storage is at its core very much dependent on software that for the most part runs on commodity hardware.
The services that differentiate storage vendors from one another are defined almost purely by the software they use.
In effect, all storage is software-defined, whether it is available as software defined to run on any hardware and/or the cloud or pre-integrated with hardware arrays or appliances.
As part of CRN’s 2023 Storage 100, here are 50 vendors bringing software capabilities, services and cloud connectivity to storage technology.
22dot6’s high-performance storage software runs on commodity hardware that can scale out and scale up and be configured to meet specific performance, security and availability requirements. The company earlier this year rolled out its 2U 12-bay high-performance 226- 212NSS hybrid NVMe/ SAS SSD and hard-drive storage system.
Advanc ed Computer & Network Corp., or AC&NC, is the developer of the JetStor series of storage appliances, providing SMBs to Fortune 500 enterprises with NAS, SAN, cloud storage and hyperconverged infrastructure technology to serve file, block or unified storage requirements.
Amax Information Technologies
Amax manufactures a wide range of industry-standard servers and storage systems, along with many of the key components in those systems, particularly advanced motherboards. The company’s StorMax storage line includes subsystems ranging from low-latency NVMe systems to density-optimized ones.
Cloudian develops S3-compatible object storage systems, many of which are offered by technology partners including VMware, HPE, Lenovo, AWS and more. Cloudian’s technology scales from three nodes to hundreds, allowing systems to be the right size for any application or organizational need.
Croit was founded in 2017 to develop storage technology based on the open-source software-defined Caph platform for implementing block, file and object storage on a single distributed cluster. Its technology, which runs on any standard hardware, includes full life-cycle management and automated upgrading of all Ceph components.
The Ctera Enterprise File Service Platform centrally manages a businesss’ file storage, control and governance requirements. The platform includes a cloud-native global file system that unifies endpoint, branch office and cloud file services to enable file storage, collaboration, data protection and disaster recovery.
DataCore is a pioneer in developing software-defined storage technology to run on commodity hardware. Its offerings include SANsymphony for iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN and hyperconverged infrastructure deployments, vFilo for distributed NAS and file servers, Swarm for scalable S3-compatible object storage and Bolt for stateful workloads on Kubernetes.
Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO
DDN offers a comprehensive portfolio of technologies to power data-intensive workflows. The company’s enterprise division, built on its 2018 Tintri acquisition, provides high-performance workload consolidation, intelligent automated storage for virtualized environments and AI-based analytics.
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Dell is moving beyond its traditional on-premises storage strength to focus more on managing cloud-based data. Dell is increasingly zeroing in on the cloud with its Apex Data Storage Services, which it describes as infrastructure offerings that provide a single operational hub for managing private and public clouds and edge storage.
CEO, Chief Digital Transformation Officer
Fujitsu’s Eternus storage system line—which includes a wide range of hybrid systems and high-performance all-flash storage—and its Primeflex portfolio of hyperconverged infrastructure technologies can be paired with Fujitsu’s own data protection technology to form a complete storage offering.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
HPE offers a wide range of disk-based, flash-based and hybrid storage systems as well as hyperconverged infrastructure systems with related data services. HPE also continues to focus on developing HPE Green- Lake, its hybrid cloud platform, which includes data intelligence and security.
Hitachi Vantara has a comprehensive portfolio of midrange, enterprise and virtual storage hardware and software, but the company is unique in that it has moved to combine that storage legacy with IoT and data analytics as a way to help businesses modernize their IT infrastructures.
Huawei offers a wide range of all-flash and hybrid flash storage, scale-out storage, hyperconverged infrastructure and more. However, it remains virtually unknown in the U.S. where concerns about the company’s close relationship with China’s government have resulted in government and enterprise customers deciding to not adopt its technology.
IBM’s storage line card includes systems ranging from tape libraries to high-performance all=flash storage arrays, along with data management, protection and analytics software. Much of that software has traditionally been sold under the Spectrum brand, but IBM as of early 2023 is phasing out that name in favor of IBM Storage.
Infinidat develops enterprise-grade technology for data storage, data protection, business continuity and sovereign cloud storage, all based on a single fundamental technology foundation providing high availability, high performance and low total cost of ownership at multi-petabyte scale.
Inspur, one of the world’s largest storage manufacturers, is known for the performance of its technology. The company manufactures all-flash and hybrid flash storage arrays along with software- defined storage. However, Inspur is relatively unknown in the U.S. storage market where it often works with OEM customers like Samsung.
iXsystems is a storage and server manufacturer with an open-source focus. The company’s flagship TrueNAS product line provides a wide range of technologies ranging from simple desktop NAS appliances to full all-flash or hybrid flash block, file and object storage systems built on the self-healing OpenZFS file system.
Lenovo is well-known for its server and mobile PC business and has also become a storage powerhouse as a way to extend its reach into the data center infrastructure business. The company offers SAN, direct-attach and unified SAN and NAS storage, as well as tape storage technologies.
Lightbits Labs Labs is the developer of NVMe/TCP technology it said takes advantage of standard Ethernet TCP/IP networking to deliver better performance than direct-attached NVMe, Fibre Channel and iSCSI. The company’s software-defined block storage technology includes intelligent flash management to help optimize the price/performance ratio.
Linbit is the developer of the opensource DRBD distributed replicated storage system for Linux and the Linstor open-source software for managing block storage devices for large Linux server clusters. Linbit offerings include high-availability disaster recovery software-defined storage, storage replication, virtualization, OEM, cloud data services and flash storage.
Liqid offers a composable infrastructure platform that lets businesses build data center architectures that can scale to meet business needs. Its platform leverages industry-standard data center components to deliver a flexible, scalable architecture built from pools of disaggregated compute, networking, storage, GPU, FPGA and memory resources that are interconnected over intelligent fabrics.
Anand Babu Periasamy
MinIO’s line card includes high-performance, S3-compatible object storage. Native to Kubernetes, it is available on every public cloud, every Kubernetes distribution, private clouds and the edge and is 100 percent open-sourced. Its enterprise- grade object storage includes active-active replication, encryption, automated data management, and block and object immutability.
NetApp has shown the rest of the storage industry how to store and manage data across public clouds, private clouds, on-premises infrastructures and the edge in a native, consistent way. The company has leveraged its cloud capabilities to move into a variety of cloud DevOps and optimization technologies.
Nutanix turned the world on to the concept of hyperconverged infrastructure and remains a key developer of software and hardware that combine compute, storage and networking resources into a single managed offering. Its technology supports all workloads and use cases across public and private clouds, hypervisors and containers.
Founder, President, CEO
Open-E is the developer of the JovianDSS opensource software-defined storage technology. JovianDSS, ZFS-based and Linux-based storage software, provides unified SAN and NAS storage, on-site and off-site data protection, and business continuity for enterprises, while Open-E’s DSS software is aimed at SMBs or small offices.
OpenDrives is the developer of the Atlas software suite, which also powers the company’s Ultra storage hardware platform. Atlas provides support for the S3, SMB and NFS protocols to help businesses manage data-intensive and heavy throughput workloads that require intelligent capabilities to improve the management of data movement.
Oracle is unique in that much of its storage technology is focused on improving the services provided by the company’s compute and networking for its software applications. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure targets customers needing on-demand local, object, file, block and archive storage, while its storage arrays and appliances target a range of storage services.
Osnexus develops the QuantaStor software-defined storage platform, designed to scale up and out to help ease the management of storage while helping reduce enterprise storage costs. QuantaStor supports all major file, block and object protocols and is also available as a cloud license service and a virtual storage appliance.
PAC Storage manufactures storage appliances catering to a wide range of enterprise use cases. The appliances range from high-end arrays scaling to up to 896 SSDs or hard drives with NVMe cache options to all-flash storage arrays to video-optimized NAS file servers to NAS systems that scale to up to 100 petabytes of capacity.
Panasas’ main product, the PanFS file system, is the high-performance storage software at the heart of the company’s ActiveStor line of storage arrays. PanFS automatically adapts to changing file sizes and workloads to provide consistent performance and is supported on the back end by a scale-out object storage with limitless scaling.
Executive Chairwoman, CEO
Panzura’s CloudFS global file system lets businesses access any file from anywhere at any time. It consolidates data from multiple locations into a single authoritative data source that is then deduplicated, compressed and protected against ransomware. CloudFS also coordinates which cloud files get sent and who can edit and access them.
Pavilion Data Systems
Pavilion Data Systems develops high-performance and highly dense storage systems for block, file and object workloads. Its HyperParallel Flash Array can store over 2 PB of data in a 4U rackmount enclosure. That data is always protected and available and can be recovered by Pavlion’s Swarm RAID Recovery technology at a rate of nearly 5 TB per hour.
All-flash storage array manufacturer Pure Storage has offerings spanning from low-cost QLC NAND-based arrays optimized for capacity to some of the industry’s highest-performing arrays and, as of early 2023, all-flash object storage arrays, all of which can be upgraded non-disruptively with new controllers every few years.
Qnap develops a range of storage, networking and video technologies. This includes a cloud NAS offering that combines the company’s edge subscription-based software that lets businesses host and develop AI analysis, edge computing and data integration on their Qnap NAS appliances.
Quantum has transformed itself from a tape automation technology developer into a company focused on managing unstructured data wherever it lives. The company offers what it said is the world’s fastest file system for video as well as Opex-friendly software subscriptions and as-a-service options to manage data from where it is captured, stored and used.
Qumulo’s technology is aimed at managing the massive growth of unstructured data across disparate environments with a single file data platform to store, manage and share file data. Qumulo said its technology can manage 200-plus billion files, 64 billion files in a single production cluster and 20-plus PB with a single full-time employee.
Scale Computing is the developer of HyperCore software for building hyperconverged infrastructures that encompass virtualization, disaster recovery, servers and shared storage and replaces them with a fully integrated, self-healing platform for running applications. It can be run on hardware appliances of different sizes in the same cluster and allows nondisruptive upgrades by just adding newer hardware.
Scality’s flagship offering, Scality Ring, is software for managing object storage deployments. Scality Ring scales to multi-PB capacities to provide object storage management from the edge to the cloud. The company in 2021 also launched Scality Artesca, which provides S3-compatible object storage on virtual machines or standard servers.
SoftIron’s HyperCloud is a turnkey intelligent cloud fabric combining hardware and software to help build multitenant cloud services with their own self-service catalog of automated data and infrastructure services. It can be used to deploy virtualized and containerized workloads across multiple on-premises and private and public clouds to provision file, block and object storage.
CEO, CTO, Chief Architect
StarWind Software provides technology to develop hyperconverged infrastructure, including full-featured storage capabilities using commodity hardware such as all-flash arrays. The company also provides storage appliances for primary and secondary storage, as well as a web-based management console.
Founder, President, CEO
StoneFly was an early developer of the iSCSI format but has since used its StoneFusion software to encompass software-defined storage capabilities around SAN, NAS, S3 object storage and unified SAN/NAS/ S3. Its technology is available for primary storage, backup and disaster recovery and hyperconverged infrastructure.
StorOne develops software-defined storage that collapses the storage IO stack into a single-layered storage IO engine that supports NVMe flash drives for performance or hard disk drives for capacity, along with auto-tiering of data, advanced erasure coding, vRAID data protection, data services orchestration and more.
StorPool builds distributed block storage for public and private clouds. The company’s technology aims to replace traditional SANs and all-flash arrays with a fast, scalable and reliable shared storage system operating on standard x86 servers. The software is deployed on a cluster of servers to aggregate their performance and capacity into a single shared block storage pool.
The Sunlight hyperconverged infrastructure stack consists of the company’s NexVisor hypervisor coupled with software-defined storage and networking components, with all being optimized for advanced storage and networking technology, including NVMe and 100G networking to run applications in the data center, the cloud and the edge.
Founder, Chairman, President, CEO
Supermicro produces complete storage arrays and servers as well as the motherboards and other components used by many other manufacturers to do the same. On the storage front, the company offers a full range of arrays for SMBs to enterprises, with a wide range of capabilities including high-performance or cloud-density-optimized models.
Synology is a manufacturer of a range of SAN and NAS, surveillance, networking and cloud technologies. Its storage line includes tower and rackmount appliances, including all-flash arrays and petabyte-scale devices, along with data protection and data sync and sharing across the cloud as well as the ability to monitor and manage all Synology devices.
Vast Data delivers what it calls “Universal Storage,” using high-performance flash storage technology as a cost-effective replacement for disk-based storage. Universal Storage combines exabyte levels of scalability with multitenant quality-of-service tools to consolidate all data and applications onto one scale-out tier of flash.
VMware has shown the world how to virtualize nearly every aspect of the data center. Its software is at the heart of many hyperconverged infrastructure technologies, with its vSAN technology providing enterprise-class storage virtualization enabling multi-cloud management while protecting investments in existing tools and processes.
WekaIO develops a cloud and AI application architecture called the Weka Data Platform that helps seamlessly deliver speed, simplicity and scale regardless of where data needs to run. It is infinitely scalable across edge, core and hybrid cloud and multi-cloud infrastructures.
Zadara’s flagship Edge Cloud Platform provides automated end-to-end provisioning of compute, storage and network resources. The Zadara Edge Cloud works with private and public clouds and in colocation to let multiple tenants run compute and storage resources simultaneously on the same physical machines without interfering with each other.