The 10 Coolest Data Storage Products Of 2021

Storage vendors are looking for ever new ways to help clients store, manage, access, and protect their precious data. CRN looks at 10 new offerings in 2021 that help businesses, and their channel partners, do just that.

Building Better Ways To Handle Data

The storage industry has always been one of the fastest-evolving parts of the IT industry. And 2021 was no exception. Vendors continued their aggressive push to develop new data storage products, whether focused on hardware, software, or the cloud, or some combination of the three.

For that reason, coming up with a list of 10 coolest data storage products for 2021 is a difficult task. There are a lot of candidates. For this list, CRN looked at companies presenting new alternatives to the challenges of storing, managing, accessing, and protecting data. They involve new ways to connect to the cloud, improve global file systems, new protocols, and protecting against ransomware

One product category not seen here is flash storage. CRN is doing a separate list of the 10 coolest flash storage products of 2021.

To see some of the most interesting ways to manage data storage, click through the slideshow.

For more of the biggest startups, products and news stories of 2021, click here.

Axcient Local Cache For Direct To Cloud

Denver-based Axcient in August unveiled a local cache addition to its MSP-focused x360Recover Direct to Cloud offering as a way to allow high-speed local recovery in case of a data outage without the need to purchase proprietary local hardware appliances. Direct to Cloud, or D2C, is based on the same software that powers Axcient’s hardware-based data protection appliances for instant local recovery and virtualization and for providing image-based data protection to the cloud for remote workstations. Axcient‘s local cache offering for Direct to Cloud aims to offer businesses the performance of a local data protection caching appliance while giving them the choice to use any hardware including low-cost USB devices to quickly recover in case of data loss.

Axcient in December also cut a deal making Direct to Cloud available through cloud distribution partner Pax8.

Cohesity Data Management-as-a-Service

Data protection and management software developer Cohesity in October unveiled a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services aimed at bringing Data Management as a Service to joint customers. The new Data-Management-as-a-Service offering is aimed at bringing midsize businesses and enterprises new ways to back up, secure, analyze and govern data using Cohesity’s data management technologies with AWS’ hosted services. To do so, Cohesity has built seamless connectivity between its existing offering, in which the customer maintains, owns, and operates the entire infrastructure, and the new multi-tenant cloud service that allows businesses to use Cohesity’s data management capabilities natively on AWS.

Cohesity and AWS also revealed that Amazon was a strategic investor, along with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Investments, in Cohesity’s $250 million Series E funding round first unveiled in April. AWS and Cohesity declined to say how much was invested in Cohesity.

Hammerspace Global Data Environment

Hammerspace, a developer of global file system technology to universally deliver software-defined storage services for data on any infrastructure or cloud, in November unveiled its Hammerspace Global Data Environment, a new technology it said enables the creation, processing, storage, protection and access of data stored on any data center or in any cloud. The Los Altos, Calif.-based company said the Global Data Environment aims to help businesses solve issues that have not had easy solutions in the past, such as providing access to unstructured data that is siloed in a data center, or working with data locked into an existing infrastructure. The Global Data Environment works with block, object and file data through all the standard protocols, as well as through platforms such as Snowflake.

Nasuni Global File Acceleration

Boston-based cloud file storage technology developer Nasuni in September unveiled its Global File Acceleration. Nasuni GFA is a new cloud service that performs near-real-time intelligent analysis of file usage to orchestrate and set priorities for propagating new files across Nasuni Edge Appliances regardless of where located. The goal is to make multi-site file synchronization up to five times faster than previously offerings do. Nasuni said its GFA technology also helps improve the recovery of data from ransomware attacks by allowing tighter recovery point objectives on newly-created data.

NetApp NVMe Over TCP

NetApp in October updated its Ontap data management software with support for running the high-performance NVMe storage protocol over TCP networks about two months after teasing about plans to do so. NVMe over TCP, also known as NVMe/TCP, is a more resilient technology that iSCSI, which has been a dominate part of the storage business for years, NetApp said. The vendor is high-speed networking technology developers including VMware, the Linux community, and with Nvidia Mellanox and Intel to bring NVMe/TCP to market. NetApp‘s NVMe/TCP works with existing standard networking technology.

Panzura Global File System

San Jose, Calif.-based global file system developer Panzura in May launched what it terms the world’s first global file system-as-a-service for MSPs looking to provide unified outsourced management of unstructured data across public and hybrid cloud environments. The new global file system-as-a-service offering lets MSPs mix and match cloud capabilities so that, for instance, a customer can use the same data set with Amazon Web Services compute, do analytics on Google, and use Microsoft Azure to take advantage of Microsoft applications. Global file services are typically installed on-premises or in the cloud via virtual machines, but Panzura is now making those services available on a cost-per-gigabyte per month, making it an upsell opportunity for MSPs, the company said.

Quantum Scalar Ransom Block

Quantum, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of technology, software, and services for managing unstructured data, in November introduced the Quantum Scalar Ransom Block, a technology for the company‘s Scalar tape systems that prevents ransomware attacks targeting data on tape libraries. Quantum Scalar Ransom Block partially ejects tapes from the tape cartridge magazines to prevent attackers who gain access to a network-connected tape library from accessing the data on the tapes. However, the tape libraries can still read the tape barcodes for auditing of the tapes. Should a tape need to be mounted, an administrator can physically push the tape into the magazine.

Rubrik Ransomware Protection

Rubrik in May unveiled a new service for protecting data from ransomware and making it easier to recover from successful attacks. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company introduced a four-part technology to do so. Part one is the immutability of data backups built into its Atlas file system to create a logical “airgap” for protected data. Part two is the use of a precise anomaly detection engine that takes advantage of machine learning to detect any unusual things going on with deletions, encryptions, or people moving files. The third part is a data classification engine that helps understand whether data under attack is sensitive data, personal data, or regulated data. The fourth is an orchestration engine to recover attacked data.

Seagate Exos Application Platform

Fremont, Calif.-based Seagate in December introduced its new Exos Application Platform, a scalable end-to-end compute and storage platform built around a new controller featuring second-generation AMD EPYC processors. The Exos Application Platform delivers integrated compute and storage in a single enclosure to help optimize rack space utilization, power efficiency, heat dissipation, and storage density, the company said. The AMD EPYC processors, with up to 16 processor cores, give the Exos Application Platform dedicated PCIe-4 lanes for up to 200GbE network connectivity, and high bandwidth to SAS controller to improve hard drive and SSD response. Finally, the Exos AP system supports 25GbE on the motherboard.

Zadara Federated Edge

The Zadara Federated Edge from Irvine, Calif.-based Zadara aimes to help MSPs build and participate in a global cloud in which they can work with each other to provide services to customers. The Federated Edge takes advantage of a cloud-based storage and compute infrastructure Zadara has built with its MSP partners under which MSPs host Zadara technology that is consumed based on usage, with no capital expenditure needed by the MSPs or their customers. As a public cloud, the Federated Edge is compliant with SOC 2, GDPR, HIPAA, and other similar regulations. MSP who are Zadara partners pay nothing to join the Federated Edge as the Zadara equipment already hosted by them is owned by the vendor, which also has the affect of providing consistent capabilities at each site.