Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions Overview

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

Top Rated Software Defined Storage (SDS) Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2022

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Products

(1-25 of 50) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

StarWind Virtual SAN
Customer Verified
Top Rated

StarWind Virtual SAN is software-defined storage for efficient storage and backup.

Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure

Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other…

Cohesity Helios

Cohesity Helios is a data management platform from Cohesity, headquartered in San Jose, which provides users with end-to-end protection for virtual and physical workloads, databases, applications, and storage with a single web-scale solution.

Key Features

  • Instant recovery (82)
    99%
    9.9
  • Management dashboard (44)
    99%
    9.9
  • Deduplication and file compression (44)
    71%
    7.1
VMware vSAN

VMware's vSAN is hyper-converged infrastructure solution.

IBM System Storage DS8900F

IBM System Storage DS8900F is a line of storage appliances.

StorPool

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…

Cisco Cloud Object Storage (COS)

Cisco Cloud Object Storage (COS) provides distributed, resilient, high-performance storage and retrieval of binary large object (blob) data. Object storage is distributed across a cluster of hardware systems, or nodes. The storage cluster is resilient against hard drive failure within…

SANsymphony

DataCore SANsymphony software-defined storage aims to deliver flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency in a HCI platform. Powered by a block-level storage virtualization technology, SANsymphony is designed to provide flexibility to control how data is stored, protected, and…

Red Hat Ceph Storage

Red Hat Ceph Storage is a software defined storage option.

IBM Elastic Storage Server

IBM Elastic Storage Server (IBM ESS) is a software-defined storage option.

IBM Spectrum Scale

IBM Spectrum Scale supports storage management of unstructured data for big data analytics.

StarWind SAN & NAS

StarWind SAN & NAS is an HCL-certified software-defined shared storage for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. The solution also enables the user to repurpose servers into certified backup targets if they are using Veeam. StarWind SAN & NAS, as a Linux-based VM, leverages…

Scality  ARTESCA

Scality in San Francisco offers scalable file and object storage for media, healthcare, cloud service providers, and others.

Springpath

Springpath in Sunnyvale, California offers software defined storage.

Cohesity SmartFiles

What is Cohesity SmartFilesCohesity SmartFiles is a software-defined, data-centric, multiprotocol file and object solution for the enterprise. SmartFiles is part of the Cohesity Helios data platform and goes beyond traditional scale-out NAS in terms of manageability, scale, storage…

Commvault Distributed Storage

Commvault Distributed Storage provides a modern software solution that allows the user to tailor a flexible, data management system built on industry-standard x86 server hardware to support any application, hypervisor, container, or cloud. The solution is based on the former Hedvig…

SUSE Enterprise Storage (discontinued)

SUSE Enterprise Storage was a software defined storage option from SUSE that has been discontinued. SUSE still provides the capabilities of that product with Longhorn Block Storage, acquired with Rancher Labs by SUSE in July 2020.

Acronis Cyber Infrastructure

Acronis Cyber Infrastructure is a software-defined infrastructure solution that can be deployed on industry-standard hardware or comes in an easy-to-deploy, plug-and-play appliance. It is used to store and manage more than 200 PB of data backed up from more than 125,000 servers, PCs…

NetApp ONTAP Select

NetApp's ONTAP Select is a software-defined storage solution for the hybrid cloud designed to help users spin up storage resources with cloudlike agility, move and replicate data easily, and offer robust enterprise storage options on commodity hardware.

Red Hat Gluster Storage

Red Hat Gluster Storage is a software-defined storage option; Red Hat acquired Gluster in 2011.

Elastifile

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-…

Vexata Active Data Fabric

Vexata is a data storage infrastructure technology providing exponentially faster transactional and analytics application performance, without tuning, or re-architecting.

FreeStor

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.

QxStor

QCT, a Quanta Computer company headquartered in San Jose, offers QxStor software-defined storage (SDN).

Buurst SoftNAS

Buurst SoftNAS is an enterprise virtual software NAS available for AWS, Azure, and VMware that provides NAS features in the cloud with a virtual software appliance. Boasting low cloud storage cost fees, SoftNAS is available with 2-factor authentication, Bulk data migration from on-…

Learn More About Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions

What are Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions?

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 Solutions 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

Pricing

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 (SDS) Solutions Best Of Awards

The following Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Winter Best Of Awards methodology here.

Best Of Winter 2023 Awards Winners for the Software Defined Storage (SDS) category. For Best Relationship, first place is StarWind Virtual SAN. For Best Feature Set, first place is StarWind Virtual SAN. For Best Value, first place is StarWind Virtual SAN.

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