Top 10 Storage Appliances

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Storage appliances now exist for all matter of functions. Here are some of the best on the market.

EMC Data Domain

Gartner graded EMC Data Domain tops in a magic quadrant about backup appliances. The company offers many configurations: as well as appliances, there are rack and software versions. They can also integrate with EMC Avamar and NetWorker via Data Domain Boost.

HP StoreOnce

Gartner rates HP StoreOnce appliances highly, too, placing them in the leaders quadrant along with EMC. These HP Enterprise (HPE) products offer backup and federated deduplication that can be used from small branch offices up to major DR recovery sites. There are several families. Rinnen said HPE has quickly ramped up adoption of these appliances and can bundle them with the HP 3PAR StoreServ storage array.

“By 2018, 50% of applications with high change rates will be backed up directly to deduplication target appliances, bypassing the backup server, up from 10% today,” said Pushan Rinnen, an analyst at Gartner.

EMC has already carved out a market leadership position in this market. And the Dell merger is likely to open this product to a wider range of users.


Seagate also offers many appliances, including a backup target appliance, an express recovery appliance, a plug and protect appliance, and an enterprise backup and recovery appliance. Several of these products formerly carried the EVault brand which Seagate has now abandoned. The enterprise backup and recovery appliance can be deployed onsite for local protection and fast recoveries. By adding Seagate replication, cloud-based offsite protection is included. The appliance provides encryption as well as block-level deduplication and backup.

Silver Peak VX Virtual Appliance

Silver Peak VX virtual WAN optimization appliances support data reduction, path conditioning and traffic shaping which helps users address bandwidth, distance and quality constraints when moving data over the WAN. The VX appliance can run on hypervisors such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and KVM).

Hitachi Protection Platform Backup Appliance

Hitachi is really hyping up this appliance. The company claims it is eight times faster than competitors, can reach 80TB per hour throughput and scales from 36 TB up to 4 PB in a single system without sacrificing performance. And its “forward referencing byte-differential deduplication” technology is said to enable restoration in minutes.

The company is leveraging the Hitachi Protection Platform (technology acquired from Sepaton) to store, move, access, protect, and restore data efficiently. It features grid scalability to add performance and/or capacity as required to protect data appropriately. It is underpinned by Hitachi storage. It also supports tape libraries (VTL) and Symantec OpenStorage Technology (OST) interfaces. Encryption of data at rest is thrown in with no performance penalty.

Pivot3 VDI

Pivot3 incorporates storage, virtualization and security technology from a series of vendors into one appliance aimed squarely at the VDI marketplace where it is said to deliver high capacity for IO intensive VDI workloads, as well as high performance and availability at low cost – the company boasts a 4X cost reduction for power and cooling compared to systems requiring physical servers and physical SAN or NAS.

Systems restart automatically in the case of appliance failures, with failover and migration of virtual desktops managed through VMware vCenter. Shared storage and compute resources across the array create storage volumes that exist on all drives and automatic load balancing is included. Users can start with one 2.1TB node and go from there up to 1.4PB of usable capacity. The glue that holds it together is the Pivot3 vSTAC OS which is built on a foundation of VMware vSphere.

“Pivot3 with VMware vSphere 6 provides a scale-out, distributed storage architecture,” said Howard Hall, senior director, Global Technology Partner Organization, VMware. “The result is that customers can benefit from increased CPU power to more efficiently run advanced VMware vSphere 6 features.”


The Gridstore all-flash HyperConverged Infrastructure Appliance (HCA) is said to enable higher virtual machine (VM) density and faster storage I/O performance. These appliances provide compute, storage, and networking in a single system. Users can start with three nodes and scale up to 256 with over 6PB of all-flash capacity.

Asigra Cloud Backup Connector Appliance

Based on the Cisco Integrated Service Router and installed with Asigra software for private, public or hybrid backup environments, this appliance allows users to protect all corporate data locally on the LAN and/or backup securely to a service provider’s offsite data center. It includes the latest generation Asigra Cloud Backup software. Capabilities include cloud-to-cloud backup, anytime/anywhere/ any device data recovery, snapshot support and virtual machine DR.

Avere FXT

Avere FXT is a hybrid edge filer that can tier automatically across RAM, SSD, SAS and SATA HDDs. It is available in appliance or software-only versions. Blocks of file data are matched to level of activity. It can be clustered to other FXT Edge filers for what the company claims is unlimited scaling. It can also be used in hybrid cloud as well as traditional storage environments.

Hitachi UCP 1000 for VMware EVO:RAIL

Hitachi gets a second mention due to the recent release of Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) 1000 for VMware EVO:RAIL. This hyper-converged appliance is designed for remote office, test and development and virtual desktops. There is also integration with Hitachi Data Ingestor software for on-premise or cloud backup.

“Organizations are transitioning from dedicated, separate compute, networking and storage systems to converged and hyper-converged infrastructure architectures to accelerate time to value and simplify data center management ,” said Ravi Chalaka, Vice President of Solutions Marketing and Social Innovation, Hitachi Data Systems.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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