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Top 5 Rising Vendors for On-Premises NAS Consolidation

Ctera, iXsystems, Nasuni, StorONE, and WekaIO

This report, published on September 16, 2021, was written by Ken Clipperton, lead analyst, storage, DCIG LLC.




DCIG Top 5 Rising Vendors for On-premises NAS Consolidation

DCIG recently completed another phase of its research into SDS solutions. We evaluated these solutions for the on-premises NAS consolidation use case. We identified 5 rising vendors that provide new capabilities, substantial deployment flexibility, and the multi-petabyte scalability that many organizations require.

Challenge of Unstructured Data Growth
Many organizations struggle with rapidly expanding volumes of unstructured data. Storing, protecting, and providing secure access to this data creates challenges around cost, complexity, and scalability. New data sets-and even individual files-surpass the capacity limits of some legacy filers. Too many data centers are filled with too many storage systems.

Terabytes Have Become Petabytes
Many legacy storage systems were designed when 100TB was a lot of data, but now many organizations need to manage multiple petabytes of data. At petabyte scale, storing, protecting, backing it up, and recovering it all is problematic using legacy solutions designed for the terabyte era.

We knew this was coming. Technology companies have been working on solutions for years. Some enhanced their existing solutions, riding waves of technology advances in processors and storage media. Others pursued bolder visions.

Rise of SDS
There was a time when implementing SDS was a DIY project for hobbyists who could not afford “real” storage. Those days are gone.

Today, SDS solutions are offered by the best known names in enterprise infrastructure and also by newer, smaller, lesser known entities. These rising vendors often offer solutions designed for the petabyte (and exabyte) era, and are frequently selected by enterprise organizations to replace legacy enterprise filers.

Public Cloud Vs. On-Premises Storage
Many organizations are embracing public cloud storage to gain needed scalability and to support cloud workloads. Others are discovering they can meet their storage requirements cost-effectively on premises through a new gen of SDS solutions.

There has recently been some controversy over cloud costs and the degree to which companies are responding to unexpectedly high public cloud bills by repatriating workloads on-premises. Overall, it is clear that enterprises are moving workloads to the cloud. Nevertheless, many organizations are moving some storage back on-premises.

Happily, many SDS solutions support hybrid-cloud environments through on-premises and public cloud deployment options. This enables organizations to place data wherever it is most advantageous based on application, performance and cost considerations while still simplifying management through storage platform consolidation.

Top 5 Rising Vendors for On-premises NAS Consolidation
DCIG evaluated 12 SDS solutions from rising vendors for the on-premises file storage consolidation use case.

The Top 5 are:

  • Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform
  • iXsystems TrueNAS
  • Nasuni
  • StorONE S1 Enterprise Storage Platform
  • WekaIO WekaFS

Similarities Among the Top 5
Among many other capabilities, all 5 of these solutions support:
• Large files >1PB and volumes of at least 15PB
• Management via REST API for integration into automation frameworks as well as a browser-based management interface
• Snapshots or tiering to S3 object data stores
• NFS and SMB cross-protocol file access
• LDAP and Active Directory integration
• Robust support from the provider, including remote and on-site support options

Differences Among Top 5
While each of these solutions enables NAS consolidation on-premises, each has distinctive strengths that address weaknesses in legacy NAS solutions for meeting today’s requirements. All are experiencing significant growth.