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DCIG TOP 5 Rising Vendors for On-premises NAS Consolidation

DCIG recently completed another phase of its independent research into software-defined storage solutions. We evaluated these solutions for the on-premises NAS consolidation use case. We identified five rising vendors that provide new capabilities, substantial deployment flexibility, and the multi-petabyte scalability that many organizations require.

The Challenge of Unstructured Data Growth

Many organizations struggle with rapidly expanding volumes of unstructured data. Storing, protecting, and providing secure access to this data creates challenges around cost, complexity, and scalability. New data sets–and even individual files–surpass the capacity limits of some legacy filers. Too many data centers are filled with too many storage systems.

Terabytes Have Become Petabytes

image of big data wave surfer

Many legacy storage systems were designed when 100 TB was a lot of data, but now many organizations need to manage multiple petabytes of data. At petabyte scale, storing, protecting, backing it up, and recover­ing it all is problematic using legacy solutions designed for the terabyte era.
We knew this was coming. Technology companies have been working on solutions for years. Some enhanced their existing solutions, riding waves of technology advances in processors and storage media. Others pursued bolder visions.

The Rise of Software-defined Storage

There was a time when implementing software-defined storage was a DIY project for hobbyists who could not afford “real” storage. Those days are gone.
Today, SDS solutions are offered by the best known names in enterprise infrastructure and also by newer, smaller, lesser known entities. These rising vendors often offer solutions designed for the petabyte (and exabyte) era, and are frequently selected by enterprise organizations to replace legacy enterprise filers.

Public Cloud vs. On-premises Storage

Many organizations are embracing public cloud storage to gain needed scalability and to support cloud workloads. Others are discovering they can meet their storage requirements cost-effectively on premises through a new generation of soft­ware-defined storage (SDS) solutions.
There has recently been some controversy over cloud costs and the degree to which companies are responding to unexpectedly high public cloud bills by repatriating workloads on-premises. Overall, it is clear that enterprises are moving workloads to the cloud. Nevertheless, many organizations are moving some storage back on-premises.
Happily, many SDS solutions support hybrid-cloud environments through on-premises and public cloud deployment options. This enables organizations to place data wherever it is most advantageous based on application, performance and cost considerations while still simplifying management through storage platform consolidation.

DCIG TOP 5 Rising Vendors for On-premises NAS Consolidation

DCIG TOP 5 Medallion
DCIG evaluated twelve software-defined storage solutions from rising vendors for the on-premises file storage consolidation use case. The DCIG TOP 5 are:

CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform

iXsystems TrueNAS


StorONE S1 Enterprise Storage Platform

WekaIO WekaFS

Similarities Among the DCIG TOP 5

Among many other capabilities, all five of these solutions support:

  • Large files > 1 PB and volumes of at least 15 PB
  • Management via REST API for integration into automation frameworks as well as a browser-based management interface
  • Snapshots or tiering to S3 object data stores
  • NFS and SMB cross-protocol file access
  • LDAP and Active Directory integration
  • Robust support from the provider, including remote and on-site support options

Differences Among the DCIG TOP 5

While each of the TOP 5 solutions enables NAS consolidation on-premises, each has distinctive strengths that address weaknesses in legacy NAS solutions for meeting today’s requirements. Some focus on multi-location collaboration, high performance, or cost-effective capacity. All are experiencing significant growth.


The rapid growth of unstructured data challenges many organizations. The DCIG TOP 5 solutions identified in this article deserve a look from any organization seeking to address these challenges by consolidating its on-premises file estate.

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Technology providers interested in licensing DCIG TOP 5 reports or having DCIG produce custom reports, please contact DCIG for more information.
Editor’s Note: This blog article represents the opinion of DCIG. Though the solution providers mentioned in this article are clients of DCIG, none of them paid a fee to be mentioned in this article. 


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