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DCIG Initiating Research into SDS Backup Targets

SDS Backup TargetEarlier in 2024 DCIG published four TOP 5 reports on physical NAS backup targets. However, those four reports only addressed part of the total backup target market. Software-defined storage (SDS) backup targets constitute a growing segment of that market. Offering file, object, and unified fast file and object (UFFO) interfaces, they give organizations new deployment options. Further, a growing number of SDS backup targets offer features that physical NAS backup targets cannot yet match.

To help organizations identify the best SDS backup targets, DCIG has initiated research into these solutions. Once DCIG completes the research, DCIG will produce one or more TOP 5 reports focused on SDS backup targets.

A Brief History of Backup Targets


The use of backup target appliances took off in the early 2000’s. These addressed key issues that organizations struggled with at that time, and still do. Specifically, they help organizations:

  • Ensure the successful completion of their backups.
  • Reduce their number of backup-related issues.
  • Shorten their backup windows.

To achieve these feats, backup targets then and now use NAS interfaces to facilitate fast and easy deployment into organizational networks. These backup targets also were largely responsible for the introduction of deduplication into organizational backup strategies. This technology reduced the amount of backup data stored and helped to make disk-based backup cost competitive with tape on a per GB basis.

However, little changed on backup targets other than the industry consolidated on offerings from a few providers.



The increased use of cloud and server virtualization technologies in recent years has changed the features that organizations need. Organizations still want to easily deploy these backup targets, use disk to store backups, and competitive price points.

However, more organizations now host applications and data in general-purpose and private clouds. They still need to create backups but may not have the option to deploy physical backup targets. Hence, they need SDS backup targets with comparable features and functions as physical backup targets.

Further, every organization has concerns about ransomware that often seeks to attack these devices during attack. This makes SDS backup targets susceptible to ransomware attacks. If ransomware compromises an SDS backup target or its data, organizations may find themselves unable to recover.

This has led to growing organizational demands and, in some cases, requirements for SDS backup targets to becoming cyber secure. More organizations now require SDS backup targets offer features such as:

  • Encrypted backups
  • Fast restore times
  • Immutability
  • Instant restores
  • Multi-tenancy
  • Object-based backup
  • Secure admin and user logins using multi-factor authentication (MFA).

These few items do not represent a complete list. However, they do represent new features and functions that organizations now ask about and expect. The need to deliver on these new requirements may make legacy backup targets ill-suited to deliver on them.

This becomes particularly apparent for organizations that need to quickly restore large amounts of deduplicated backup data. Vendors often optimized existing disk-based backup targets for throughput and high data deduplication ratios. Yet when it now comes time to use these same applications for fast restores, they may not meet these new organizational demands.



DCIG invites all providers of SDS backup targets to participate in DCIG upcoming research into this topic. Providers can ensure they receive a survey by contacting Todd Dorsey, DCIG Sr. Storage Analyst, at

DCIG intends to publish one or more TOP 5 reports based on its research into SDS Backup Targets. DCIG expects to create reports based upon each solution’s ability to offer file, object, and UFFO interfaces.

DCIG will make these reports available for download once it finalizes and publishes the results. These reports, and derivatives of them, will be available for licensing by technology providers. Licensing provides opportunities for customer education, demand generation, and sales and partner enablement.

DCIG’s current criteria for inclusion in the SDS backup target research include:

  1. A storage solution that the provider markets for use as a SDS backup target.
  2. Must be able to support and manage at least 50 terabytes (TBs) of storage capacity.
  3. Commercially available on July 1, 2024.
  4. Sufficient information available to DCIG to make an informed decision.

Based on a preliminary of the marketplace, DCIG has identified the following solutions to be evaluated for possible inclusion in the SDS backup target research and plans to reach out to them.

  • Cloudian
  • Cohesity
  • DDN
  • Dell Technologies
  • HPE
  • IBM
  • NetApp
  • Nutanix
  • Open-E
  • OSNexus
  • Quantum
  • Quest
  • Qumulo
  • Racktop Systems
  • Scality
  • Starwind Software
  • StoneFly
  • StorONE
  • Veritas Technologies
  • VMware
  • Zadara



The survey data collection period runs through June 2024. Survey data is based on publicly available and vendor-provided information. DCIG will publish the results of its analysis beginning in Q3 2024 in one or more DCIG TOP 5 reports. DCIG will announce the release of each report on its website and through its email newsletter. 

About DCIG


The Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) empowers the IT industry with actionable analysis. DCIG analysts provide informed third-party analysis of various cloud, data protection, and data storage technologies. 

DCIG’s audiences include C-level executives, IT managers, IT professionals, magazine editors, bloggers, analysts, and providers within the IT and cloud service industry.
More information on DCIG.

### If you would like more information about this DCIG research, please contact Todd Dorsey at 844.324.4552 x 904 or via email at


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To learn about DCIG’s future research and publications, see the DCIG Editorial Calendar.

Technology providers interested in licensing DCIG TOP 5 reports or having DCIG produce custom reports, please contact DCIG for more information.


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