DCIG is pleased to announce the 2022-23 DCIG TOP 5 Multi-Cloud SDS Object Storage Solutions. These products represent the TOP 5 SDS-based object storage solutions organizations should consider for multi-cloud deployments.
Background: Public Software-Defined Storage – From Edge to Multi-Cloud
Enterprise storage used to be only purchased as an appliance, with proprietary software inextricably bound to its hardware. Software-defined storage (SDS) changed this paradigm by separating the software from its underlying hardware. Decoupling the software from its physical storage opens many benefits.
Early applications for software-defined storage were limited, on-premises use-cases, but maturing SDS brought expanded features and deployment options. SDS reached out of the data center to the cloud. Organizations could tier data to cloud storage and even run SDS in the cloud within virtualized server environments.
Today, software-defined storage use-cases and deployments can be found everywhere data is stored, in IoT devices, edge locations, data centers, the public cloud, and multi-cloud storage architectures. These wide options for SDS deployment allow organizations to store, manage, move, and copy data where it is needed most for cost, performance, security, and workload priorities.
IT organizations value SDS for its:
Flexibility. Organizations can download, deploy, and configure software-defined storage solutions where and how they want using their preferred server provider, which may differ from their preferred storage software vendor. Expanded deployment options within virtual, container, and cloud platforms eliminate vendor lock-in as SDS frees enterprises from particular hardware vendors and platforms.
Scalability. SDS solutions enable organizations to scale up or out depending on requirements. On-premises, organizations can add to their existing physical storage to expand their virtualized pool. For solutions utilizing public cloud storage, capacity is virtually unlimited. Such scalability helps organizations flex to their growing data and application needs.
Unified data management. Rather than different data silos where IT administrators have disparate views of storage, many SDS solutions enable organizations to view and manage their data holistically across their data center, organization, and even multi-cloud architecture. Global views, including permissions management, capacity utilization, and analytics, enable new opportunities for ensuring optimal performance and cost for managing an organization’s data.
Cost efficiencies. SDS-based solutions bring savings and efficiencies compared with legacy storage systems. Using SDS, organizations can tier cold, untouched files to low-cost storage, whether on-premises or in the cloud. As organizations understand their trends in data growth using SDS data management features, they can better plan and budget. SDS solutions are known for supporting off-the-shelf storage devices in place of proprietary storage, which are often priced at a significant premium. Organizations can also reduce their storage expenses by optimizing existing storage for cost and performance.
API Automation. SDS solutions include application programming interfaces (APIs). With APIs organizations can link applications to each other, share data, and automate tasks. And for SDS Object Storage solutions, the S3 API plays a key role in providing a cloud-native environment across an organization’s storage infrastructure.
From Cloud to Multi-Cloud Architectures
There is little question AWS’s introduction of Simple Storage Service (S3) in 2006 fueled the adoption of cloud-based storage, services, and workloads. One of the great benefits of the cloud is its simple value proposition: with a credit card, scalable compute and storage infrastructure becomes immediately available.
As a result of this cloud value proposition, most enterprises now spread storage, services, and workloads across multiple cloud providers, which may include their own on-premises private cloud. Cloud-native technologies and services have also spread to the edge, where one can argue that the cloud is now everywhere. In fact, market research shows 92% of enterprises employ a multi-cloud strategy to some degree.
Software-Defined Storage – Smoothing the edges of Multi-cloud Data Storage
While multi-cloud deployments bring flexibility to IT organizations, they also bring complexity. For example, administrators must understand different user interfaces and cloud management tools. Further, while all cloud providers offer object storage, the API sets between cloud providers often vary. API differences result in issues when moving data between providers, varied performance between cloud providers, and challenges when cloud providers update their APIs.
Software-defined storage smooths the edges of multi-cloud data management. A key way multi-cloud SDS solutions remove complexity is through abstracting the underlying cloud storage infrastructure. Cloud abstraction allows SDS to provide a unified presentation of an organization’s object storage across cloud providers and on-premises locations.
Further organizations can use SDS software to:
Orchestrate multi-cloud data movement. Enterprises value multi-cloud SDS solutions for their capabilities to control data movement into, out of, and between cloud storage providers. Container deployments of SDS within cloud platforms remove vendor-dependent APIs, as organizations can use a single, consistent API regardless of the cloud platform.
Expose data to cloud-based workloads. Enterprises teams such as DevOps, can use SDS to expose data to cloud-based workloads. This may be containerized applications or cloud-based services such as analytics or AI/ML workloads. Organizations may also use SDS software to support cloud-based file services, where objects are stored in the cloud but presented as a file infrastructure to users and applications.
Expand data protection. Organizations can backup, replicate, and store distributed copies of their storage and archives across multiple cloud providers and regions. These options expand the possibilities for protecting data from cloud and on-premises outages.
Select best-of-breed cloud capabilities. Organizations can use SDS solutions to move data to the cloud platform for the best capabilities – this may be to cloud providers for cost savings or to cloud-based services for AI/ML workloads. Choosing between cloud providers for best-of-breed helps organizations generate more value from their data.
Enforce data sovereignty. Regulations may require data originating within a country’s borders to remain within those borders. Organizations can move and store their data to cloud regions, cloud providers, or on-premises locations to comply with data sovereignty requirements.
Implement multi-cloud data management. Where deployed, multi-cloud SDS object storage solutions provide global visibility of object stores across cloud providers and on-premises locations. Through metadata-driven data management and user-defined policies, SDS automates data movement so that data is on the right media and platform for the right service.
View multi-cloud storage analytics. Multi-cloud SDS object storage solutions combine global visibility with storage analytics. Storage analytics opens insights into performance, usage, capacity, and other key system metrics across individuals, teams, tenants, and departments. Armed with patterns and trends of their data landscape, IT decision-makers can make knowledgeable business and storage decisions across multiple storage types and cloud vendors.
Provide multi-cloud search capabilities. Multi-cloud SDS object storage enables metadata search capabilities across cloud providers for data recovery, retrieval, and orchestration. Organizations can use these capabilities to create new data lakes to extract new business insights.
In short, multi-cloud SDS simplifies multi-cloud complexity, collapses cloud and on-premise silos, and unifies data management across an organization’s object store regardless of the media, location, or platform. As a result, SDS expands opportunities organizations would not otherwise have with their object data. Combine this with enterprise-class performance and features the best SDS solutions also bring to organizations, and the reasons become clear why SDS has become an indispensable tool for managing multi-cloud storage architectures.
2022-23 DCIG TOP 5 Multi-Cloud SDS Object Storage Solutions
DCIG evaluated eighteen SDS object storage solutions for a multi-cloud use-case. The general feature categories evaluated include:
• Deployment capabilities
• Data protection
• Product and performance management
• Technical support
• Licensing and pricing
Among many other capabilities, all five of these solutions evidence:
• Robust support
• Wide deployment options
• Multiple public cloud support
• Directory services integration
• Robust analytics
Based on its evaluation of these features, the following storage solutions earned DCIG TOP 5 award (in alphabetical order):
• Cloudian HyperStore
• Cohesity Helios
• MinIO Inc. MinIO
• Nutanix Objects
• Scality RING
Organizations examining SDS object storage for multi-cloud deployments well-serve their stakeholders by reviewing theses products.
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