Vendor Landscape Small to Midrange Storage Arrays


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Review this InfoTech report that evaluates the latest storage array vendor landscape to help IT staff find the best match for their business and IT needs.

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Vendor Landscape Small to Midrange Storage Arrays

  1. 1. Vendor Landscape:Small to Mid-range Storage ArraysFind a solution to trim the cost of performance and capacity for your lean IT staff. Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. Is a global leader in providing IT research and advice. Info-Tech’s products and services combine actionable insight and relevant advice with ready-to-use tools and templates that cover the full spectrum of IT concerns. © 1997-2012 Info-Tech Research Group Inc. Info-Tech Research Group 1
  2. 2. IntroductionVirtualization and flash are changing the way companies evaluate storage.As workloads become dense, find the solution that meets performance andcapacity requirements at lowest possible cost.This Research Is Designed For: This Research Will Help You: IT Leaders at organizations planning to  Align vendor strengths and limitations to your purchase consolidated network storage, such current and projected needs around storage. as a SAN or unified storage solution.  Understand available functionality for current mid-range SANs.  Prepare an RFP and score RFP responses.  Select the vendor that is the best fit for your organization. Info-Tech Research Group 2
  3. 3. Executive SummaryInfo-Tech evaluated 8 competitors in the small to mid-range Info-Tech Insightstorage market, including the following notable performers: 1. Focus on current and futureChampion: requirements. Don’t count on your reseller to tell you what you need. Put together your• NetApp leads by introducing features from its high-end storage to list of needs and wants in an RFP. Almost its flagship small to mid-range product. half (44%) or storage purchasers switch• Dell EqualLogic’s cost effectiveness combined with ease of use vendors, and most of those do so because make it a viable option for small to mid-sized companies. new products fell short of expectations. 2. Understand reseller and vendor supportValue Award: capabilities. Organizations more satisfied• NetApp’s FAS2200 line comes in at a surprisingly low price point with their storage purchase spent almost for a mature solution. 50% more effort evaluating support capabilities of the resellers/vendors on theirTrend Setter Award: shortlist than those that were dissatisfied• Nimble Storage has quickly made a name for itself, due in large with their purchase. part to its innovative Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) 3. Think about future costs, not just up architecture. front capital. More than 35% of organizations report dissatisfaction with costs to scale performance or capacity of their solutions after their initial purchase, making it crucial to establish scaling costs with your vendor. Will you get the same discounts? What is the licensing? Do you need another controller? Info-Tech Research Group 3
  4. 4. Market Overview How it got here Where it’s going• Storage became a key enabler. Over the past decade, • Unified storage is becoming the norm. NetApp had networked storage has expanded from being a high- its early success as a niche provider of unified file and end data management solution for large enterprises to block capabilities, however most providers in the small also being a foundation for smaller scale consolidation. to mid-range storage market now have it available. Dell,• Industry standard technologies brought storage EMC, and Nexsan all added NAS capabilities to their down market. Sufficient, less expensive technologies, storage solutions in 2011 or 2012. such as Ethernet fabrics (iSCSI and NAS) and lower • Performance is back on the table. Consolidation and cost SATA drives, brought storage to SMBs, and allowed virtualization is mainstream today, but this is creating them to capitalize on existing hardware and skill new challenges for storage as dense virtual server investments, rather than going to Fibre Channel school infrastructures are pushing ever more I/O. and buying a new fabric. • Flash is today’s answer. Most vendors are leveraging flash by using it as cache (in Solid State Drives [SSDs]• Storage for the SMB was about ease of use and or controller attached PCIe cards) or as a tier of storage cost. With lean IT staff and tight budgets, small to mid- in SSDs (typically with accompanying auto-tiering), in sized customers primarily focused on ease of combination with lower cost SAS or SATA drives. implementation of management when buying storage. • VMware integration has become a must. While only• High availability and data recoverability became a one of many major virtualization vendors (see also given. Snapshots, site-to-site replication, and hardware Citrix, Microsoft and Red Hat), VMware holds dominant redundancy (disk, ports, power supplies) continue to be market share and is the de facto standard in must-have features across all storage solutions. virtualization. For help developing a storage strategy and buying process, see Info-Tech’s Solution Sets on how to Mitigate Costs & Maximize Value with a Consolidated Network Storage Strategy as well as Purchase Storage Without Buyers Remorse. For advice on modern storage challenges, such as VDI, expanding file data, and increasing VM densities, see Exploit Storage Beyond the Central Disk Array. Info-Tech Research Group 4
  5. 5. Small- to Mid-Range Storage Vendor selection / knock-outcriteria: market share, mind share, and platform coverage• For this Vendor Landscape, Info-Tech focused on vendors that deliver when it comes to small to mid-range storage. Organizations in this market demand high reliability, scalability, and competitive pricing—these aspects played an important role in the vendor evaluation.• Dell. Long-standing leader in iSCSI solutions, Dell’s EqualLogic now offers quality unified storage solutions. Included in this Vendor Landscape:• Dell. Long-time leader in iSCSI, Dell’s EqualLogic now offers a unified storage system.• EMC. This market leader raises the bar by introducing aspects of its mid-range VNX to its small to mid-range VNXe.• HP. After reestablishing itself with the acquisition of LeftHand Networks, HP has rebranded LeftHand to StoreVirtual Storage and is strengthening its offerings in the small to mid-range storage market by focusing on ease-of-use and promoting its out-of-the-box storage setup.• IceWEB. As a long-time specialist in the small to mid-range market, IceWEB continues to deliver storage solutions that highlight security and reliability.• NetApp. Pioneers of unified storage, NetApp has seen success in the mid-market with its unified storage platform. The FAS2000 series caters to the needs of the small to mid-sized space.• Nexsan. This proven small to mid-market storage provider is known for cost-effective and reliable solutions . It has added unified storage to its portfolio with its NST series.• Nimble Storage. A strong newcomer in the storage market, Nimble Storage is getting plenty of attention for its innovative Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) system and simple, yet solid architectural storage design.• Tegile. A new entrant to the storage landscape, Tegile delivers impressive results with its patented Metadata Accelerated Storage System (MASS) storage. Info-Tech Research Group 5
  6. 6. Evaluation criteria & weighting factors Criteria Weighting: Features Usability Product Evaluation Criteria 25% 30% The solution provides basic Features and advanced feature/functionality. User-friendly interface, built-in tools for simplified 25% Usability management, and customer feedback. 20% Architecture Affordability The three year TCO of the solution is Product Affordability economical. 50% Demonstrated recent innovation in architectural Architecture approach to storage with several scaling options. Vendor Evaluation Criteria 50% Vendor is profitable, knowledgeable, and will be Vendor Viability around for the long-term. Viability Strategy Vendor is committed to the space and has a 15% Strategy future product and portfolio roadmap. 30% Vendor offers global coverage and is able to sell Reach and provide post-sales support. 30% Vendor channel strategy is appropriate and the 25% Channel channels themselves are strong. Channel Reach Info-Tech Research Group 6
  7. 7. The Info-Tech SMB to Mid-range Storage Vendor Landscape The Zones of the Landscape The Info-Tech Vendor Landscape: Champions receive high scores for most evaluation criteria and offer excellent value. They have a strong market presence and are usually the trend setters for the industry. NetApp Market Pillars are established players with very strong vendor credentials, but with more average product scores. Nimble Innovators have demonstrated innovative product Tegile Storage Dell strengths that act as their competitive advantage in appealing to niche segments of the market. Emerging Players are newer vendors who are starting to gain a foothold in the marketplace. They EMC IceWEB balance product and vendor attributes, though score lower relative to market Champions. Nexsan HPFor an explanation of how the Info-Tech Vendor Landscape is created, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 7
  8. 8. Balance individual strengths to find the best fit for your enterprise Dell EMC HP IceWEB NetApp Nexsan Nimble Storage TegileFor an explanation of how the Info-Tech Harvey Balls are calculated, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 8
  9. 9. The Info-Tech SMB to Mid-range Storage Value Index What is a Value Score? Champion On a relative basis, NetApp maintained the highest Info-Tech Value ScoreTM of The Value Score indexes each vendor’s the vendor group. Vendors were indexed product offering and business strength against NetApp’s performance to provide relative to their price point. It does a complete, relative view of their product not indicate vendor ranking. offerings. Vendors that score high offer more bang-for- the-buck (e.g. features, usability, stability, etc.) than the average vendor, while the inverse is true for those that score lower. Average Score: 52 Price-conscious enterprises may wish to give 100 the Value Score more consideration than those who are more focused on specific 90 71 80 69 vendor/product attributes. 64 70 53 60 50 50 40 30 9 20 0* 10 Dell Tegile Nexsan Nimble Storage IceWEB EMC* HP NetApp *The vendor declined to provide pricing. For an explanation of how Price is determined, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix.For an explanation of how the Info-Tech Value Index is calculated, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 9
  10. 10. Table Stakes represent the minimum standard; without these,a product doesn’t even get reviewed The Table Stakes What Does This Mean? The products assessed in this Vendor Feature What it is: LandscapeTM meet, at the very least, the requirements outlined as Table Stakes.Short Backup The time required to quiesce data for backups isWindows minimal. Many of the vendors go above and beyond the outlined Table Stakes, some even do so inSite-to-Site Data can be replicated between sites for failover multiple categories. This section aims toReplication capabilities to enable disaster recovery. highlight the products’ capabilities in excess of the criteria listed here. Full copies of data can be created in edition to thin snapshots where only data that is modifiedThin Snapshot is captured and added to the original on restore.Capability This allows for shorter backup windows, and less disk space used. A single user interface that is simple to use,Easy-to-Use provides monitoring and trending reports, andManagement provides drill down capabilities into virtual andInterface non-virtual machines and servers. If Table Stakes are all you need from your consolidated storage solution, the only true differentiator for the organization is price. Otherwise, dig deeper to find the best price to value for your needs. Info-Tech Research Group 10
  11. 11. Advanced Features are the capabilities that allow for granularmarket differentiation Scoring Methodology Advanced FeaturesInfo-Tech scored each vendor’s featuresoffering as a summation of their individual Feature What we looked for:scores across the listed advanced features. Unified File and Ability to support both file and block storage,Vendors were given 1 point for each feature Block Storage managed through a single admin interface.the product inherently provided. Somecategories were scored on a more granular Solid State Vendor provides solutions that enable caching Caching using SSDs at the array.scale with vendors receiving half points. Solid State Drives serve as a storage tier, allowing SSD Tier data migration to and from these drives. Policy-based automatic transfer of data between Auto-tiering and/or among tiers of storage in the device. All relevant products support VMware’s vStorage VMware VAAI API for Array Integration up to ESXi version 5.0. VMware Hardware compatibility with VMware APIs for VASA/SRM Storage Awareness and Site Recovery Manager. Block Eliminates redundant blocks of data by identifying Deduplication & deleting duplicate blocks. Encodes data on the array with fewer bits than Compression which the data was originally encoded. Inline Data is compressed “on the fly”, before it is written Compression to disk. Array is available as a virtual machine deployable Virtualized Array on commodity hardware.For an explanation of how Advanced Features are determined, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 11
  12. 12. Each vendor offers a different feature set; concentrate on whatyour organization needs Dell EMC HP IceWEB NetApp NexsanNimble Storage TegileFor an explanation of how Advanced Features are determined, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 12
  13. 13. Narrow down the market depending on your existing orplanned fabric investmentMost small to mid-range storage solutions are iSCSI only, but a select fewoffer Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel over Ethernet1 Protocol Support FCoE, iSCSI, and FC support 2 VNX Why Scenarios? iSCSI and FC support onlyIn reviewing the products includedin each Vendor LandscapeTM ,certain use-cases come to theforefront. Whether those use-casesare defined by applicability in iSCSI onlycertain locations, relevance forcertain industries, or as strengths indelivering a specific capability, Info-Tech recognizes those use-cases VNXeas Scenarios, and calls attention tothem where they exist. For an explanation of how Scenarios are determined, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 13
  14. 14. Future proof your purchase by understanding your vendor’sapproach to adding performance and capacityThirty six percent of storage buyers are dissatisfied with costs to scale theirsolution, whether up or out. Node-based Scaling 12 Scaling Capabilities Controller Upgrade (NO array downtime) Why Scenarios?In reviewing the products includedin each Vendor LandscapeTM ,certain use-cases come to the Controller Upgrade (WITH array downtime)forefront. Whether those use-casesare defined by applicability incertain locations, relevance forcertain industries, or as strengths indelivering a specific capability, Info-Tech recognizes those use-cases Leveraging of Third Party Storageas Scenarios, and calls attention tothem where they exist. All vendors can add capacity through expansion shelves. For an explanation of how Scenarios are determined, please see Vendor Landscape Methodology: Information Presentation in the Appendix. Info-Tech Research Group 14
  15. 15. NetApp now brings flash performance to theentry level of its flagship FAS systems Champion Overview Product: FAS2200 series • Recognized as a leader in unified storage, NetApp has Employees: 12,200+ improved its FAS2200 line by adding Flash Pool SSD-based Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California caching technology, and consolidating its management tools to Website: further simplify administration. Founded: 1992 Presence: NASDAQ: NTAP Strengths FY11 Revenue: $6.2 B • With a common platform and tool set across its storage portfolio, NetApp facilitates evolution from entry to enterprise. • Introduction of Flash Pools brings flash performance to entry level systems where cost of Flash Cache might be out of reach. • VMware integration continues to be a strong point for NetApp, with extensive block and NAS VMware API support, and one of the only vendors to bring VMware APIs for Storage Awareness and Site Recovery Manager to its entry level products.3 year TCO for this solution falls into pricing • Advanced technologies and tools for thin provisioning, thin tier 5, between $25,000 and $50,000 replication, thin snapshots, inline compression, deduplication, and efficient use of flash all help optimize disk utilization, as well as network bandwidth utilization. Challenges • As more and more vendors are building out unified capabilities into their products, NetApp will need to push differentiation into $1 $1M+ new areas. Pricing provided by vendor. • Info-Tech customers express discontent with increases to maintenance and support costs following initial contract terms. Info-Tech Research Group 15
  16. 16. NetApp has been excelling in the small to mid-range since itsinception, and with an appealing price point to boot Vendor Landscape What we’re hearing “NetApp really shined with their snap manager products, which integrated with SQL, Oracle, and Exchange. It was a big way for us to backup our major databases and get them off of tape. — Michael Parker, Lead Storage Engineer, Acuity Brands “NetApp was similar to the EMC... They both have 40 different line items and at the end of the day... — Network & Systems Administrator, Transportation Industry Value Index 100 1st out of 7 Info-Tech Recommends: Organizations looking for flexible storage solutions for their virtual environments with a comprehensive set of available disk utilization and redundancy features should definitely consider NetApp. Info-Tech Research Group 16