The data storage market used to be a simple landscape. There were direct attached storage (DAS), storage area networks (SAN), and network attached storage (NAS). The primary arguments were: why keep everything directly attached when you should be using a SAN; or which is better for you, a SAN or NAS?
That simple world is long gone. Data storage solutions have changed markedly of late. Whether it’s the cloud, object storage, or software-defined storage, the many permutations of storage make for a complex picture.
But one thing remains: International Data Corp. (IDC) continues to release its quarterly storage reports. The “Worldwide Enterprise External OEM Storage Systems Market Revenue Increased 1.7% During the First Quarter of 2021” lists the top five storage vendors and gives a good overview of the market.
Interestingly, IDC makes the point that regardless of the cloud, this report continues to give an accurate picture of who is selling the most storage. After all, the big cloud providers buy storage hardware and software from these same companies. So even though the percentage of enterprise storage sales to cloud vendors is rising steadily, it is all storage whether in the cloud or on premises.
One aspect of this guide which made it challenging is the wealth of storage assets offered by each vendor. Due to expansion over the years as well as acquiring data storage solutions from startups and rivals, each vendor provides a great many offerings. Therefore, they are summarized so as to include the primary product lines and items in one place.
Whether you are looking for SAN, NAS, DAS, object storage, or data storage software, the following offerings should fit most needs.
Also read: Top Data Management Platforms & Systems 2021
Table of Contents
Here are the top data storage vendors and what they offer in this everchanging category.
Dell leads the way in storage sales. In its early days it developed its own storage. But over the years, it has acquired a great many vendors, including EMC. Its data storage solutions cover the gamut.
NetApp has two primary lines, AFF and FAS. AFF is high-performance all-flash storage. FAS is capacity oriented storage which includes both all-flash and hybrid-flash implementations. AFF and FAS, as well as Cloud Volumes ONTAP (CVO), are powered by ONTAP data management software.
The company also offers:
Huawei delivers unified storage solutions for large enterprise applications and demanding technical workloads. Whether your requirement includes NAS, SAN or SSD, Huawei enterprise storage systems can manage data.
HPE has been a major player in enterprise storage for decades. Its offerings cover just about all areas of the storage landscape. Most of the storage below is also available as a service. HPE’s portfolio includes a wide range of all flash and hybrid arrays that can be used to host data from the edge to the cloud with workload-optimized infrastructure.
The Hitachi Vantara storage portfolio includes several different lines:
Also read: Three Key Memory Technologies Driving Data Management
The above five are very much the big guns in the storage world in terms of overall sales and capacity shipments. But there are others in the storage world who offer popular enterprise tools that often compete in these same markets.
DataCore’s software-defined storage portfolio includes:
Pure Storage offers two primary arrays. These arrays serve needs ranging from departmental to large-scale enterprise deployments. They provide performance, reliability, and availability for mission-critical operations — both block and file.
FalconStor is all about data protection. Its products are compatible with existing backup and archive software, hardware, and processes. The company also takes advantage of object storage in its on-premises and cloud archival offerings, with secure data containers that can take advantage of the various capabilities offered by the major object storage offerings, both on-premise and in the cloud.
Read next: Establishing Sustainability in the Age of Data
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