The 50 Coolest Software-Defined Storage Vendors: The 2022 Storage 100
The 50 coolest software-defined storage vendors of the 2022 Storage 100 bring software capabilities, services and cloud connectivity to storage technology.
Software is at the heart of storage.
Regardless of data type, workload, protocol or location, software determines the storage services.
This remains true whether data resides or is managed on a hardware device, a virtual array or in the cloud.
As part of CRN’s 2022 Storage 100, here are 50 of the hottest software-defined storage vendors today.
22dot6 in 2021 came out of stealth with a new software-defined storage technology that completely abstracts storage resources regardless of storage hardware or which clouds the data resides on. The company aims to bridge virtualization, hardware abstraction, data services and storage accessibility to help customers exit existing storage platforms.
Advanced Computer & Network Corp., known as AC&NC, is a builder of custom NAS, SAN, cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure storage systems under the JetStor name. The company targets private and, via its GSA contract, government clients. The company works with integrators and others.
AgileStorage develops a storage hypervisor platform based on its Hybrid Storage Pool Architecture, which integrates DRAM, flash and hard disk into a single storage pool. The platform features direct cache tiering to provide the performance and low latency of all-flash storage but at a lower cost, according to the company.
Amazon Web Services
Public cloud services heavyweight AWS is also a top provider of storage capacity. AWS S3, or Simple Storage Service, is the industry-standard protocol for object storage. The company also provides file-based and block-based storage. Many storage vendors’ APIs tie to AWS S3.
Cloudian developes cloud-based file and object storage technology with a focus on AWS S3 compatibility. The company in 2021 expanded its cloud storage capabilities with container integrations with such companies as VMware, Kasten by Veeam and Red Hat OpenShift, and expanded its AWS relationship in several areas.
Ctera’s Global File System is a federated distributed file system for high-performance file access, multisite collaboration and data protection. It is the heart of the Cetera Enterprise File Services Platform, which offers businesses unlimited scalability, realtime collaboration for any number of users, and centralized management and control.
DataCore was an early pioneer in softwaredefined storage that turns industry-standard servers into storage appliances serving block, file and object storage. DataCore in 2021 made two acquisitions: container-attached storage and OpenEBS open-source Kubernetes storage technology developer MayaData and software-defined object storage developer Caringo.
Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO
DDN is a developer of storage for high-performance computing and other high-performance requirements. It offers software-defined storage, NVMe all-flash and hybrid flash storage, and all-flash storage for virtualized environments. 2021 saw the company move solidly into AI-focused storage, including a partnership with Nvidia.
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Dell Technolgoies, the world’s largest public storage vendor via its 2016 EMC acquisition, offers primary and secondary storage based on its software. Dell in 2021 signaled its intent to be a major cloud storage player with Dell Apex Cloud Services, Dell EMC ObjectScale software for Kubernetes, and new AI-focused offerings with VMware and Nvidia.
CEO, Chief Digital Transformation Officer
Fujitsu offers a wide range of Eternusbranded traditional RAID, Primeflex-branded hyperconverged infrastructure and software-defined storage technologies targeting primary storage uses. The company also provides data protection technology in the form of backup appliances and tape systems.
Fungible developed the Fungible Storage Cluster, calling it the world’s first composable storage offering combining public cloud agility and scalability with on-premises security and performance. At its base is the Fungible Data Processing Unit, which disaggregates compute and storage resources across data centers.
Google Cloud provides a wide range of storage capabilities and services. These include Cloud Storage object storage, Persistent Disk block storage for integration with Google Cloud products such as Compute Engine and GKE, and Filestore file-based storage. The company also offers archival storage.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
HPE is a major storage hardware and software vendor and a leader in storage intelligence. While it continues to develop allflash and hybrid storage, hyperconverged infrastructure, and data protection offerings, its primary focus is on HPE GreenLake, which provides cloud-like flexibiilty and consumption-based capabilities.
Hitachi Vantara combines technologies from three former stand-alone companies—storage vendor Hitachi Data Systems, big data and IoT developer Lumada and Pentaho data management and analytics. The company in 2021 significantly enhanced its midsize enterprise storage, object storage and AIOps capabilities.
China-based Huawei, one of the world’s largest storage vendors, has little presence in the U.S. market because of U.S. concerns about potential Chinese government ties. Huawei’s OceanStor line includes all-flash, hybrid flash and distributed storage, and the company also offers hyperconverged infrastructure systems as well as data protection and backup appliances.
IBM’s storage focus is primarily on storage software, particularly on its IBM Spectrum line of software-defined storage technology. The technology includes offerings for management of AI data, file and object optimization, and data management, archiving and protection.
Infinidat focuses on technology to build high-performance storage infrastructures at multi-petabyte scale. In addition to its flagship InfiniBox technology for mixed application workloads at multi-petabyte scale, the company offers the InfiniBox SSA for low-latency, highestperforming workloads and InfiniGuard for data protection and cyber resilience.
China-based Inspur, a major worldwide server manufacturer, is also one of the largest storage builders. Inspur builds all-flash and hybrid flash storage systems as well as software -defined storage technology and virtualized storage systems targeting onpremises, cloud and AI workloads.
iX systems’ TrueNAS appliances offer file, block and object storage. They are built on open-source OpenZFS storage technology and are available in offerings targeting home and small businesses to mission-critical enterprise workloads. The company also offers TrueRack systems that converge server and storage technology targeting cloud deployments.
Lenovo’s flagship ThinkSystem storage systems offers a wide range of options including all-flash and hybrid-flash unified SAN/ NAS systems, SAN arrays, direct-attached storage and tape storage. Lenovo, via its ThinkAgile hyperconverged infrastructure line, partners with several software-defined storage technology developers including Nutanix, Microsoft and VMware.
Lightbits Labs, in which Cisco, Dell, Intel and Micron have invested, develops software-defined scale-out, disaggregated NVMe-over-TCP storage technology. Lightbits said its NVMe/TCP technology separates storage and compute without touching the network or data center infrastructure to deliver the same IOPS as directattached NVMe SSDs with up to a 50 percent decrease in latency.
Linbit’s open-source Linstor block storage technology targets large Linux server clusters and distributed replicated block device systems for high-availability clusters or cloud integration. Its enterprise subscription version, Linbit SDS, includes DRBD, Linstor and support to provide persistent Linux block storage for Kubernetes, OpenStack, OpenNebula and OpenShift environments.
Composable infrastructure developer Liqid’s Matrix software enables quick provisioning, scaling and redeploying of bare-metal infrastructure using industry-standard compute, networking, storage, GPU and FPGA devices via its intelligent fabric. The company in December 2021 unveiled a Series C round of funding that brought in $100 million to scale its Liqid Matrix business.
The Azure cloud platform brings together over 200 products and cloud services to help customers build, run and manage applications across on-premises cloud and edge environments. Among its services are Azure Disk Storage for block storage, Azure Data Lake Storage for analytics, Azure Files for file storage and Azure NetApp Files for enterprise-grade file shares.
Anand Babu Periasamy
MinIO develops a high-performance cloud-native object storage suite targeting hybrid cloud, public cloud, private cloud and edge environments using the AWS S3 API. The software-defined distributed object storage system runs on industrystandard hardware and is Kubernetes-native. It integrates with partners including VMware, Splunk, Hadoop, Veeam and Teradata.
NetApp has morphed into a leader in seamlessly storing, migrating and managing data across on-premises, public cloud and private cloud environments. The company has expanded beyond its traditional storage focus with a new emphasis on cloudnative CloudOps services and is closely tied with AWS, Google and Azure public clouds.
Nutanix pioneered the development of hyperconverged infrastructure that combines compute, storage and networking into integrated stacks for on-premises, edge and multi-cloud environments. In 2021 it expanded the Nutanix Cloud Platform, which suppor ts workloads across public and private clouds, hypervisors and containers.
Open-E develops IP-based storage management software that enables SMBs and small to medium enterprises to turn commodity server hardware into storage systems. Its Open-E JovianDSS is ZFS- and Linux-based storage software for enterprise storage environments, while Open-E DSS V7 is aimed at building and managing centralized file and block storage.
OpenIO develops scalable, AWS S3-compatible object storage technology aimed at big data, AI and highperformance computing workloads. The software is hardware-agnostic and supports heterogenous hardware within the same cluster and enables instant and unlimited scaling without rebalancing.
PAC Storage, an affiliate company of server and workstation manufacturer Boxx Technologies, manufactures scale-out NAS, all-flash and NVMe storage systems targeting hybrid cloud, AI, virtualization, surveillance, data protection, virtual desktops and database applications.
Panasas’ PanFS parallel file system targets deep learning, precision medicine and autonomous vehicles with a highly scalable architecture along with data reliability and availability. PanFS automatically balances and optimizes CPU, networking cards, DRAM and storage media as director nodes and storage nodes are added.
Executive Chairwoman, CEO
Panzura offers a multi-cloud data management platform with a unified data engine designed to securely power large-scale multisite enterprise data workflows. Intelligent edge technologies help simplify data management, provide analytics, reduce complexity and improve security.
Pavilion Data Systems
Pavilion Data Systems provides high-performance, highly scalable storage for AI, machine learning, highperformance computing and analytics workloads. The Pavilion HyperParallel Flash Array works with NVMe and NVMe-oF to provide over 2.2 petabytes of capacity, up to 120-GBps read performance, and up to 20 million IOPS in a 4U enclosure.
Pure Storage was born as a developer of all-flash storage technology. The company has been pushing hard to closely tie storage managament and ransomware protection across on-premises and cloud environments with its Pure-as-a-Service offering and its Portworx Kubernetes container management.
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Qnap develops NAS appliances and video surveillance for home, small businesses and enterprise users and has branched into cloudbased NAS. For enterprise users, Qnap provides all-flash storage with disaster recovery and highavailability storage, along with archive storage and AWS S3-compatible object storage.
Quantum is now a leader in storage technology for media and entertainment, surveillance and industrial IoT verticals, as well as smart storage for research and analytics. The company’s StorNext file systems provide highperformance file and block storage while its ActiveScale offering provides object storage cold storage archiving.
Qumulo’s high-performance file data platform stores, manages and creates workflows at massive scale across hybrid cloud environments. This provides dynamic scaling, intelligent caching, real-time analytics, an advanced API to automate and manage data services, easy migration to the cloud, data protection, and security of data from external threats.
Scale Computing’s HC3 IT infrastructure platform is a fully integrated, highly available platform that combines virtualization, disaster recovery, compute and shared storage. The HC3 self-healing platform identifies, mitigates and corrects infrastructure problems in real time. Scale Computing in 2021 unveiled HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure offerings for surveillance and security.
Scality’s technology manages file and object data from cloud to core to the edge. Its Scality Ring provides scale-out file and object storage for hybrid cloud storage and data management, while its Scality Artesca provides lightweight cloud-native object storage. Scality targets diverse workloads like data protection, archiving, big data analytics, content and collaboration, and ransomware protection.
SoftIron develops HyperDrive storage appliances based on the Ceph open-source software-defined storage platform designed for scalable, unified object, block and file storage. The appliances target private and public clouds and enterprise scale, with up to 6 petabytes of capacity in a 42U rack and are available in four models depending on cost, storage density and performance requirements.
CEO, CTO, Chief Architect
StarWind develops storage hyperconvergence and virtualization software, as well as all-flash hyperconverged infrastructure appliances. Software includes StarWind Virtual SAN for building virtualized storage pools for any hypervisor, StarWind SAN and NAS to turn servers or a group of servers into shared storage, and StarWind Virtual Tape Library.
Founder, President, CEO
StoneFly is the longtime developer of the StoneFusion storage operating system that is at the base of the company’s storage and hyperconverged infrastructure offerings. It can turn businesss’ bare-metal servers into enterprise SAN, NAS and AWS S3 object storage appliances. StoneFly’s technologies can also be used for cloud-based Storage as a Service.
StorCentric, in a series of acquisitions, has built a full range of storage offerings. These include Vexata and Violin Systems allflash storage; Nexsan Unity high-performance block, file and object storage; Nexsan Beast high-density block storage; Nexsan Assureon compliant archiving technologies; Drobo prosumer and SMB storage; and Retrospect on-premises and cloud storage.
StorOne develops software-defined storage technology for enterprise all-flash or hybrid arrays, virtual storage, secondary storage, cloud storage, or hybrid on-premises and cloud storage, all supporting block, file and object storage. The company in late 2021 integrated NVMe over Fabric in its S1 Enterprise Storage Platform and added ransomware protection to its S1:Backup technology.
StorPool aims its distributed block-level storage software at replacing traditional SANs, all-flash arrays or other storage products for use in public or private clouds or shared hosting. StorPool’s software is available as a fully managed storage offering and integrates with Kubernetes, OpenStack, CloudStack, Open Nebula, VMware and more.
Synology develops NAS, networking and surveillance technology, along with software targeting data protection, cloud, and file sync and share. Its NAS systems are all managed by the company’s DiskStation Manager web-based operating system. Synology in 2021 expanded DSM and its Synology C2 platform with new cloud services.
Vast Data’s Universal Storage technology combines exabyte scalability with multitenant quality-of-service tools to help businesses consolidate data and applications onto one scale-out flash tier. The company’s all-f lash system stores up to 1 petabyte per rack unit to build what it calls a “data center in a rack.”
VMware built on its early lead in server virtualization to become a major player in hyperconverged infrastructure. It has become a main driver of modern application development and bringing applications to hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and containerized environments backed with cloud-focused security.
WekaIO targets AI and machine learning, highperformance data analytics and containerized workloads with its NVMe-native, resilient, POSIX-compliant, and shared WekaFS file system running on commodity servers. It delivers high-bandwidth, low-latency performance over InfiniBand or Ethernet-enabled GPU-based or CPU-based clusters.
Zadara focuses on accelerating edge cloud adoption with secure, elastic self-service compute, networking and storage. Its zCompute technology lets customers develop, run and virtualize applications in co-location, private data centers or public clouds, while zStorage works with structured or unstructured data with any file, block or object storage protocol.