Storage Software Market: Features, Benefits and Top Providers

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In many ways, storage software runs the data center world. It’s the code that connects workloads, the manager of cloud storage, and the source of automation for hardware. 

The software storage market encompasses all software-managed storage platforms and is not only growing from a financial standpoint but is also rapidly developing through a digitally transforming tech infrastructure:

The Storage Software Market

Market Growth

IMARC Group expects a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the storage software market from 2021-2026. Research Nester predicts that by 2022, over 72% of global enterprises will move from on-premises data centers to the cloud, driving growth in the market. The firm suggests the market is also surging due to the growth of unstructured data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Types of Storage Software

  • Virtualization: Virtual storage is abstracted from underlying hardware, often implemented through a shared storage area network (SAN). Virtualization offers features like thin provisioning and block-level deduplication.
  • Software-defined storage (SDS): SDS is a component of software-defined infrastructure in which software manages all hardware resources. Because software management pools storage more accurately than human administration does, SDS saves money, only using storage resources that are necessary at the time.  
  • Replication: Stored data can be replicated through arrays or networks. Array-based replication can manage multiple server replications from one location, and network-based replication splits data being transmitted to a device on the network. 
  • Archival storage: Archives, often a public cloud tier such as Amazon Glacier or Azure Archive Storage, hold cold, or infrequently accessed, data for lower prices than hot workload data.
  • Storage and device management: A storage and device management system performs tasks such as monitoring storage networks, configuring devices, and deduplication. 
  • Data protection and recovery: Stored data must be secured and backed up in case of breaches and cyber attacks. Protection and recovery software place safeguards around stored data and improve recovery time if a storage system fails.

Also read: Top Data Protection Software & Solutions

Benefits of Storage Software

Agility and Scalability 

Using software-based storage systems — whether that’s a cloud, a container, or software-defined infrastructure — enables enterprises to scale their storage pools more dynamically. Software provides faster insight on storage infrastructures too: An application with artificial intelligence (AI) technology is better equipped to automatically tell a storage system it needs additional resources to manage a workload.

Cost Savings

Most storage software platforms save enterprises money because they more accurately allocate storage resources. If storage software knows exactly what hardware or cloud resources a workload requires, it will only consume the necessary energy. Human administrators or hardware-only systems typically will not be able to use resources as accurately. 

As-a-service storage solutions also save money because users are only paying for the storage capacity they need. Companies using public cloud storage offload hardware costs to the cloud provider.

Connecting Disparate Sources of Data 

The ability to connect data sources and reduce silos in enterprise storage environments is incredibly important in the data storage market. API connections help bridge the gap between storage and other applications, according to Dan Kogan, VP of product management and product marketing at Pure Storage, a provider that specializes in all-flash storage.

“Fast, resilient, API-driven storage is absolutely critical, as it provides the data mobility features necessary to ensure edge, data center, and even public cloud data are connected and accessible where and when the data needs to be,” Kogan said. “This need is being met by use case-driven storage platforms powering what we define as storage-as-code software, which provides consistency of experience, in traditionally inconsistent places.”

If an enterprise needs to pull data from five different application workloads, it will rely on a storage system with an API that can easily connect to enterprise applications. Such APIs allow businesses to utilize more data.

Storage Software Use Cases

A user of NetApp Cloud Volumes software, which includes cloud storage management, a senior system administrator whose health care organization was migrating from on-premises to cloud, says the platform can help with cloud insights, backup to cloud, drag-and-drop replication setup, and tiering and cost savings, according to a review at Gartner Peer Insights.

HPE’s Nimble Storage dHCI, a disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure solution, is “highly available, and we can achieve data availability up to 99.99999%.” according to a review by a technology analyst in manufacturing at Gartner Peer Insights.

The user says Nimble was “simple to deploy and simple to scale up in [a] real environment” and offered built-in data protection and encryption features. 

Storage Software Providers

These are some of the top companies in the storage software market:

  • Red Hat
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
  • Dell Technologies
  • NetApp
  • IBM
  • Hitachi Vantara
  • Pure Storage
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a staff writer for Enterprise Storage Forum and eSecurity Planet, where she covers data storage, cybersecurity and the top software and hardware solutions in the storage industry. She’s also written about containerization and data management. Previously, she wrote for Webopedia. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in writing and lives in middle Tennessee.

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