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2022-2023 Top 5 On-Premises SDS Object Storage Solutions

Cloudian HyperStore, Hitachi Vantara HCP, MinIO, Nutanix Objects, Scality Ring

DorseyThis report, published on February 24, 2022, was written by Todd Dorsey, analyst at DCIG, LLC.




2022-23 DCIG TOP 5 On-Premises SDS Object Storage Report

This report provides guidance on Top 5 solutions organizations should consider for SDS-based object storage solutions for on-premises deployment.

Background: Public Cloud Object Storage Challenges
There is little question AWS’s introduction of S3 cloud storage has fueled the adoption of cloud computing and storage. One of the benefits of the cloud is its simple value proposition: with a credit card, scalable compute and storage infrastructure becomes available. However, public cloud infrastructure is not with its challenges.

The challenges around effective cloud object storage include:

  • Latency. Latencies occur because of transmission delays across the Internet or within the cloud provider itself. Latencies can be problematic for workloads with time-sensitive requirements. Dedicated circuits into the cloud provider can help, but may be insufficient for critical applications.
  • Data sovereignty. The rise of cloud computing has resulted in countries passing regulations that specify how data is stored. Regulations may require data collected and processed within a country’s borders remain within those borders. It may also mean that data is subject to the jurisdiction in which the cloud infrastructure physically resides. Ultimately, enterprises must understand the evolving legal impacts of data sovereignty regulations on storage and transfers.
  • Public cloud data breaches. The accessibility and volume of data stored in the cloud makes it a attractive target for criminals. A recent security research study reported that 40% of organizations had experienced a cloud-based data breach over the last 12 months. Given the costs and negative public relations that data breaches can bring, organizations are rightly concerned about this potential risk.
  • Cloud cost overruns. While storing data in the public cloud is relatively inexpensive, frequently accessing that data adds up. Further, it is not always clear how cloud decisions will affect an invoice. It is a common experience for companies using the cloud to receive a high bill at some point. Cloud survey research showed a large percentage of respondents had experienced unexpected or higher cloud costs due to Covid-19.

Why Object Storage On-Premises
Certainly, there are good reasons enterprises should leverage the cloud for its convenience and strengths. The public cloud helps companies learn cloud skills and technologies. The ‘however’ is that the cloud does not scale cost-effectively. Rising cloud costs place negative pressures on margins. As the team at Andreesen Horowitz noted in their article The Cost of Cloud, a Trillion Dollar Paradox, ‘You’re crazy if you don’t start in the cloud; you’re crazy if you stay on it.’ Cloud costs are a principal reason why organizations are repatriating the data to on-premises or hybrid-cloud (on-premises and cloud) object storage solutions.

Other reasons driving the adoption of on-premises object storage include:

  • Unstructured data growth solution. Object storage offers enterprises an optimum solution for dealing with exponential unstructured data growth. As organizations create unstructured data, they can move cold data off primary storage to on-site archive or active archive object storage. Enterprise may also use object storage for their backup and DR needs. Moving cold data off tier-1 storage creates a lean, organized, and higher performing primary storage infrastructure.
  • High performance object storage. Data rich applications and workloads depend on fast response times. Hardware and software improvements add to on-premises high performance use-cases involving unstructured data such as IoT, big data analytics, and AI/ML. Flash media accelerates low latency and high throughput. On top of this, because of proximity, workloads utilizing on-premises object storage achieve better performance.
  • Data sovereignty. Data sovereignty rules change yearly. Non-compliance can lead to stiff penalties. For critical data and workloads, organizations may find it simpler to store their object data on-premises for geographical control. On-premises object storage also allows organizations to design security protocols tailored to their needs.
  • Edge computing. Edge computing use cases continue to evolve. The edge presents unique challenges of environment, power, performance, connectivity, and space. Object storage becomes the preferred storage medium where IoT devices, cameras, and machine sensors generate, store, and transmit unstructured data.
  • Transition to cloud-native workloads. Enterprises are using on-premises object storage to develop, test, and deploy applications made for a cloud computing architecture. Cloud-native workloads run anywhere: in the cloud, in data centers, or at the edge. Developing these applications on-premises enables developers to work out issues before transitioning these workloads to the cloud. This on-premises storage also enables organizations to move applications developed in the cloud back on-premises.

Software-Defined Object Storage
The growth of SDS is part of the broader transition to the software-defined data center, where infrastructure elements such as compute, storage, and networking are abstracted and virtualized. Increasing SDS capabilities, along with its flexibility and cost-efficiencies, fuels SDS demand. 

SDS expands on the benefits of object storage in the following ways:

  • Scalability. SDS solutions enable organizations to scale up or out depending on requirements. On-premises, organizations can add to their existing physical storage to expand their virtualized pool. Many SDS solutions have virtually no capacity limitations. Such scalability helps organizations flex to their growing data and application needs.
  • Cost efficiencies. SDS-based solutions bring savings and efficiencies compared with traditional storage systems. Organizations may deploy SDS solutions with cost-effective commodity hardware. They may also save money by optimizing and extending the life of their existing storage. When constrained IT budgets rarely grow at the pace of unstructured data accumulation, these cost-efficiencies are greatly valued.
  • Data management capabilities. The data management component of SDS solutions virtualizes and views data from its source systems as one central repository. Global views, including permissions management, capacity utilization, and analytics, enable new opportunities for ensuring optimal performance and cost for managing an organization’s object stores.

2022-23 DCIG TOP 5 On-Premises SDS Object Storage Solutions
In preparing this report, the analyst firm evaluated 18 SDS object storage solutions for a on-premises use-case.

The general feature categories evaluated include:
• Deployment capabilities
• Data protection
• Product and performance management
• Technical support
• Licensing and pricing

Based on its evaluation of these features, the following storage solutions earned TOP 5 award (in alphabetical order):
• Cloudian HyperStore
• Hitachi Vantara Hitachi Content Platform (HCP)
• MinIO Inc. MinIO
• Nutanix Objects
• Scality Ring

The others products evaluated:

  • Cohesity Helios 
  • DataCore Software Swarm 
  • Hammerspace 
  • IBM Cloud Object Storage 
  • iXsystems TrueNAS 
  • Nexustorage Limited Nexfs 
  • OpenIO 
  • Red Hat Ceph Storage 
  • StoneFly StoneFusion 
  • StorONE S1 Enterprise Storage Platform 
  • Swiftstack Storage 
  • WekaIO WekaFS 
  • Zadara VPSA