Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions

Best Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions include:

StarWind Virtual SAN.

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions Overview

What is Software Defined Storage (SDS)?

Software-defined-storage (SDS) solutions are alternative data storage programs where the storage resources are decoupled from the underlying physical hardware. This makes them more flexible than traditional storage area network (SAN) or network-attached storage (NAS) programs that are attached to the hardware. SDS programs typically run on either the server operating system (OS) or virtual machines (VM). But certain programs may run on a hypervisor kernel which allows for multiple VMs to be used simultaneously on one device.

These programs are also related to software-defined networking (SDN) and the software-defined data center (SDDC) architecture. These products reflect a broader industry-wide shift towards the virtualization of software-related functions such as storage, networking, and security.

SDS solutions have become very popular for recently for a few key reasons including:

  1. the evolving and increasingly unstructured nature of data

  2. increasing customer need for data virtualization capabilities

  3. rising demand for cloud storage technologies

Common SDS use cases include:

  • DevOps

  • Workflow automation

  • Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI)

  • Data security and protection

  • Data management of integrated public and private cloud systems

  • Providing better data access for remote offices

  • Increasing data storage efficiency by eliminating silos

  • Extending the life of more traditional storage systems

‘Scaling Out’ vs. ‘Scaling Up’ Storage Capacities

‘Scaling-out’ is an alternative to the more traditional 'scaling-up' method of increasing storage capacity. It involves adding additional storage space with SDS products that do not need to be physically attached to the hardware underneath.

Scaling-up storage involves adding more physical storage - such as disk drivers - to the original storage infrastructure to increase capacity. One drawback of scaling-up storage is that there is a limited amount of upgrading that can be done. In comparison, when scaling-out storage, there is essentially no limit to the amount of storage resources that can be added.

SDS Features and Capabilities

Most SDS products include a number of features and capabilities targeting storage management and functionality such as:

  • Abstraction of storage resources from the underlying hardware

  • Virtualization of pooled storage resources

  • Ability to manage pooled storage via one administrative interface

  • Policy-based management of storage resources

  • Ability to increase storage capacity through scaling-out the system across a server cluster

  • Compatibility with industry-standard hardware (x86 servers and API)

  • Access to different types of storage interfaces such as block, file, and object storage

However, there are a multiple storage options to consider when selecting an SDS product. These include different scale-out and/or block, file, and object options, container-based software, virtualized software, and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software.

Benefits of SDS

There are several benefits of using an SDS solution compared with traditional SAN or NAS style storage. Most importantly, they allow the user to update storage capacity while not altering the underlying physical hardware. They also enable the expansion of existing storage capacity to a virtually unlimited degree.

SDS products also offer cost related benefits which include:

  • lower upfront and operational costs

  • buyers avoid being ‘locked in’ to one software vendor (since they not tied to any specific hardware)

  • eliminate costs by ‘scaling out’ current storage capacity and adding on additional storage resources as needed


The standard pricing model for storage software has been per GB, along with installment and upgrading costs. However, SDS vendors offer products whose prices are more dependent on use case, length of use, and amount of storage needed. Therefore prices may not be very standardized.

Vendors typically do not disclose price information on their website but provide it upon request.

Software Defined Storage Products

(1-25 of 38) Sorted by Most Reviews

Nutanix AOS
129 ratings
81 reviews
Top Rated
Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other hypervisors), Prism clu…
StarWind Virtual SAN
34 ratings
34 reviews
Top Rated
StarWind Virtual SAN is software-defined storage for efficient storage and backup.
IBM System Storage DS8900F (formerly DS8000)
24 ratings
10 reviews
IBM System Storage DS8900F is a line of storage appliances.
VMware vSAN
20 ratings
5 reviews
VMware's vSAN is hyper-converged infrastructure solution.
4 ratings
4 reviews
StorPool is a block-storage software that uses standard hardware and builds a storage system out of this hardware. It is installed on the servers and creates a shared storage pool from their local drives in these servers. Compared to traditional SANs, all-flash arrays, or other storage software Stor…
IBM Spectrum Scale
26 ratings
4 reviews
IBM Spectrum Scale supports storage management of unstructured data for big data analytics.
4 ratings
3 reviews
DataCore offers SANsymphony, a software defined storage infrastructure.
Red Hat Ceph Storage
6 ratings
2 reviews
Red Hat Ceph Storage is a software defined storage option.
3 ratings
2 reviews
Scality in San Francisco offers scalable file and object storage for media, healthcare, cloud service providers, and others.
Red Hat Gluster Storage
5 ratings
1 reviews
Red Hat Gluster Storage is a software-defined storage option; Red Hat acquired Gluster in 2011.
DDN IME All-Flash Cache
DataDirect Networks (DDN) offers their Infinite Memory Engine (IME) offered in the IME140 and IME240 appliances or via an IME software only edition, DDN IME Flash-Native Cache.
Stratoscale Object Storage
Stratoscale offers single-click provisioning and scaling of object storage in a single click to simplify storage-related operations and ensure agility and scalability.
Hive USX (formerly Atlantis USX)
Hive USX is software defined storage from HiveIO, based on technology acquired with Atlantis Computing in 2017.
Springpath in Sunnyvale, California offers software defined storage.
HPE StoreVirtual VSA (Discontinued)
HP StoreVirtual VSA was software defined storage, from HPE replacing the former LeftHand P4000 VSA. It reached EOL March 2019.
StorMagic SvSAN
StorMagic is a data backup and recovery solution from the UK company of the same name.
EMC's ViPR is software defined storage.
SwiftStack in San Francisco offers software defined storage.
vVNX Virtual Unified Storage is EMC's software defined storage offering.
Stratoscale Private Cloud Platform (Symphony)
Stratoscale Private Cloud Platform is designed to simplify operational complexity through automated end-to-end infrastructure provisioning of compute, storage and network resources across all enterprise environments.
Elastifile, founded in 2013 and headquartered in Santa Clara, provides software to help deploy private and hybrid cloud storage solutions; they define this is a software-defined bring-your-own-hardware storage, and emphasize the elasticity and scalability gained from their software-defined approach.
Vexata Active Data Fabric
Vexata is a data storage infrastructure technology providing exponentially faster transactional and analytics application performance, without tuning, or re-architecting.
FalconStor offers FreeStor, the company's flagship software-defined storage (SDS) solution to guide data migration processes, provide business continuity and data recovery, application and workflow tuning and optimization, and core-to-edge analytics.
IBM Elastic Storage Server
IBM Elastic Storage Server (IBM ESS) is a software-defined storage option.
IBM Spectrum Storage
IBM Spectrum Storage allows users to unify storage across on-premises and multi-cloud environments. It also helps in increasing agility and reducing storage costs.