As big data continues to inspire IT to look for ways to store, manage and analyze vast amounts of data, the need regardless of data volume size is starting to take on renewed interest in classic midrange storage environments. Users looking to centralize their files, virtualize their application servers and simplify the management of their infrastructure are moving more and more to consolidating and centralizing their data on a few or ideally onto only a single storage array.
DCIG, LLC notes this new category for midrange storage as ‘Big Data Lite.’ Users in this new category recognize it is time to leverage the power unified midrange storage solutions provide in bridging the gap between the mid-teens of terabytes up to the low petabytes in a standalone appliance that can be accessed and shared by a number of devices.
Typically, the midrange array category has been quite large and is usually broken down into several additional categories. The most common definition is by how the storage is accessed: Storage Area Network (SAN), Network Attached Storage (NAS), or both. This latest DCIG Buyer’s Guide factors in both the common definition with this new category sweet spot that is aligned with SMEs and their ‘Big Data Lite’ needs.
"No one doubts we’re all entering the new age of big data, where enterprises and users alike are grappling with ever increasing volumes of data and looking to derive value by analyzing it. However, research is showing that it’s not just large enterprises that are grappling with big data and solutions that can help SMEs deal with their big data Lite issues will be equally as attractive," said Jerome Wendt, co-author and founder, DCIG.
DCIG evaluated more than 30 offerings from 8 companies. After an initial questionnaire of more than 50 questions was completed, participating companies’ capabilities were assessed from the questionnaire and from information available in the public domain. Solutions were then evaluated for more than 65 characteristics, and weighted after conversations with end-users.
After scores were compiled, solutions were assessed and ranked either "Best-in-Class," "Recommended," "Excellent," "Good," and "Basic" across functionality and capability relative to the overall market landscape. The intent for this guide, as with all DCIG Buyer’s Guides, is to provide an ‘at-a-glance’ comparison from which end users can select the most appropriate solution for their existing needs. The guide also provides perspective on how solutions from less well known storage providers compare against established and better known brands.
The DCIG 2013 Midrange Unified Storage Array Buyer’s Guide Top solutions include (in alphabetical order): EMC VNX5500, 5700 and 7500; HDS Unified Storage 110, 130, 150; and NetApp FAS3220, 3240, 3250 and 3270.
Of note is that four of the NetApp FAS3200 series models took the top four spots in this guide, the first time a storage provider has ever done so in any DCIG Buyer’s Guide. Factors that particularly contributed to the FAS3200 models scoring so well were its full integration with VMware vSphere, the same management software across its entire line of midrange unified storage models and its read and write flash-based caching.
The DCIG 2013 Midrange Unified Storage Array Buyer’s Guide:
- Provides an objective, third-party evaluation of currently available midrange unified storage arrays
- Evaluates, scores and ranks midrange unified storage arrays from an end-user’s perspective
- Includes recommendations on how to best utilize this guide
- Provides data sheets on 30 midrange unified storage arrays from ten different providers so organizations may do a quick comparison of features while having sufficient detail at their fingertips to make an informed decision
- Provides insight into the management, application level, host support, hardware and support features which organizations may look for in a unified storage solution
- Provides a summary of common configurations of unified storage solutions
"Garnering the top four spots in the DCIG 2013 Midrange Unified Storage Array Buyer’s Guide solidifies NetApp’s position as the industry-leading provider of midrange storage platforms," said Brendon Howe, VP, product and solutions marketing, NetApp. "Our FAS3200 series products provide best-in-class features and technology such as flash and clustered Data ONTAP which address today’s enterprise performance, capacity, and high-availability needs and tomorrow’s scalability requirements."
Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified more than 15 plus companies that provide midrange arrays. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey with 50 questions and had to support the presentation of storage as a single file system under a global namespace, support Ethernet connectivity, support both the CIFS and NFS NAS protocols, support one or more SAN protocols (iSCSI, FC or FCoE, support scaling to at least two controllers, support scaling to a minimum of 24 drives, support scales to a minimum of 60TBs of raw capacity, and had to be shipping prior to January 1, 2013.
In every case every participating vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this guide.
DCIG also spoke to various end-users to get a sense of how they would weight their needs in these various areas. It then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.
It is worth noting that each guide is not intended to be a substitute for internal testing. DCIG encourages any organization that is considering the purchase of any solution included in a Buyer’s Guide to do its own in-house testing.
Below each page of what is supposed to be a Buyer's Guide with "an objective, third-party evaluation," you can read:" 2013 DCIG, LLC. All rights reserved. Licensed to NetApp, Inc."