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There's no shortage of vendors catering to the data storage needs of enterprises. Here's a 20 companies that notable for the impact on the market. And if you're looking for future leaders, here are 20 Data Storage Startups to Watch.
Data Center Storage Companies
These data storage companies are market leaders and wield big influence. They're the go-to companies for businesses that are looking to deploy storage area network (SAN) or network-attached storage (NAS) technologies, and increasingly, hybrid cloud storage solution.
No discussion of the enterprise data storage market is complete without mentioning Dell EMC. Since the blockbuster $67 billion merger of server and PC maker Dell with data storage giant EMC in 2016, the combined company has lived up to the EMC's legacy by remaining atop the external enterprise storage systems market, essentially the arrays that make up a SAN and/or NAS (many models today can pull double duty), according to technology analyst firm IDC. Product lines of note include Isilon NAS storage, EMC Unity hybrid-flash storage arrays for block and file storage, SC series arrays and the enduring VMAX family of products.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise and its Chinese joint venture, the New H3C Group, has surpassed Dell EMC in the overall market for enterprise storage systems, but the company still has to cover a lot of ground to catch up to it rival in the traditional storage array segment. Notable product lines include HPE 3PAR StoreServ midrange arrays, entry-level HPE StoreEasy Storage NAS systems and flash-enabled MSA Storage.
Of late, NAS specialist NetApp has been making waves by adding latency-busting NVMe-over-Fabrics (FC-NVMe) support to its all-flash arrays and offering hybrid cloud data tiering support in its ONTAP storage software.
Like most other major storage vendors, IBM has come to fully embrace flash in its arrays. In 2017, the company announced a big push into NVMe-based storage in a bid to keep pushing the enterprise storage performance envelope.
In September 2017, Hitachi combined Hitachi Data Systems with Pentaho and the Hitachi Insights Group to form a subsidiary focused on data integration, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, and of course, enterprise storage. HDS storage systems live on in the form of the company's Hitachi NAS Platform and G Series arrays.
This Chinese technology company is quickly growing its market share, according to IDC. Its expanding product portfolio includes all-flash OceanStor Dorado V3 arrays with NVMe support and OceanStor 18000 V5 hybrid-flash storage systems.
Data Storage Companies: Well-Versed in the Enterprise
They may not immediately come to mind when the topic of data storage comes up, but these companies offer their own take on storage technologies for businesses.
Oracle offers more than business databases and related software products, it also sells ZFS Storage, whose legacy can be traced back to the Sun Microsystem days, alongwith Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliances and StorageTek archival tape systems.
Although the company has been known for its ties with EMC and resells IBM Storwize arrays, lately it has been venturing out on its own with Lenovo Storage S2200 and S3200 SAN hardware.
Reflecting the company's vision of providing storage solutions for the entire data lifecycle, Fujitsu gathers its arrays, backup appliances, tape libraries and software-defined storage (SDS) offerings under the ETERNUS banner.
Western Digital is synonymous with hard drives, but the company also produces data center storage systems like Ultrastar for the data center via its Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) subsidiary.
All-Flash Upstart Storage Companies
Leapfrogging traditional, disk-based storage systems, these companies focus on flash-enabled arrays that help set new standards of application and database performance.
The company made a name for itself by being an all-flash "purist," no spinning platters here. Today, Pure Storage continues that vision with the FlashArray//X, a storage system packed with NVMe SSDs.
Violin Memory, now Violin Systems, is another vendor that made an early bet on all-flash (with a healthy dose of RAM) in the data center. After a brush with bankruptcy, Violin reemerged with a focus on not only delivering high-performance Flash Storage Platform arrays, but also storage services and management software tools that support modern-day workloads.
Although parent company HGST made the list earlier, Tegile stands out because it concerns itself solely with hybrid and all-flash storage systems, including NVMe-based arrays like its IntelliFlash N Series.
Kaminario, another leading all-flash storage vendor, may be focused on delivering flash-friendly storage software nowadays, but its legacy lives on. In January 2018, the Boston area flash storage specialist announced it was leaving the hardware side of the business to Tech Data to focus on supplying SDS solutions to enterprises. For those wondering, IT buyers can still snag highly-capable Kaminario K2 arrays from resellers through Tech Data.
Bidding SANs Goodbye with Hyperconverged Storage
Although many storage vendors have jumped on the hyperconvergence bandwagon, these innovators are known for specializing in the hot storage trend.
Hyperconverged storage or hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is taking over the enterprise. It combines storage, compute and networking into highly-virtualized systems that offer enterprises immense flexibility in how to run and manage storage workloads.
Available in hardware appliances or as a software that organizations can install on their own systems, Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud platform enables software-defined storage (SDS) in the data center. It supports a wide range of storage services (file, block, container and virtual machine), along with backup and disaster recovery orchestration.
Austin, Texas-based Pivot 3 offers flash and hybrid flash HCI systems with a number of desirable data services, including asynchronous replication, erasure coding, thin provisioning and more. The company's high-end, all-flash HCI appliances pack both NVMe SSDs and conventional SSDs to accelerate storage workloads.
Although it's now owned by HPE, SimpliVity deserves a mention for hitting the scene early with its OmniCube building blocks that set many businesses on a path toward the software-defined data center (SDDC).
Top Storage Players: The Enterprise Storage Backup Crew
Sometimes things don't go as planned. Drives fail, the wrong cable gets pulled or applications don't act as expected. These companies help businesses bounce back when IT disasters strike.
In 2016, Veritas split from cybersecurity giant Symantec, which had merged with the company in 2005. Now flying solo as a private company and focused on enterprise data protection, Veritas continues to serve the market with its venerable NetBackup backup and recovery suite and the Flex Appliance, which can be deployed in minutes to provide on-demand backup, recovery, archiving and cloud tiering services using a microservices-based approach.
Targeting midsized to large businesses, this New Jersey-based firm's data protection and information management offerings are designed to help enterprises wring more value out of their information as it passes from primary to secondary storage. Commvault Hyperscale is available both as an appliance that integrates storage, compute, networking, backup and recovery, analytics and data lifecycle management, or as software that works with systems from Dell EMC, HPE, Cisco and others.
Actifio is mainly known as a copy data management specialist, but its expertise in helping businesses optimize their complex storage environments enables the company to offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).