November 13, 2017

Bizarre Gartner Hype Cycle for Storage Technologies 2017

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a tough exercice delivered every year for 20 years. And for storage technologies it’s probably one of the toughest in the industry with so many innovations, convergences and merges of technologies.

The first remark is about the list of technologies listed and we wonder why Storage Cluster File Systems, IDA, Storage Multi-tenancy or Online Data Compression, to name a few, have such roles.

Surprised also to see that Cloud Data Backup is emerging with players such Spanning, Backblaze, Backupify (acquired by Datto already in 2014) or Code42. For instance Backupify was founded in 2008. Same remark for Integrated Backup Appliance with for sure new vendors such Rubrik, Cohesity but also established ones like Dell EMC with Data Domain line, NEC, Veritas or Exagrid.

At the same time we don't see topic such Persistent Storage for Container represented by several players such Portworx, StorageOS, Virtuozzo or Blockbridge. What about subject like Cloud Tiering or Cloud Archiving as we see Cloud Data Backup.

Where is P2P storage, only BitTorrent and Storj are listed with really different companions? We should have here Aerofs, AetherStore, Blockade, Cloudplan, Ugloo or Sia.tech.

What about VTL, is it obsolete in the Gartner grammar? What about multi-protocol SDS?

We’re also surprised to read that object storage lives a revival due to S3. In fact, there is more and more players offering an S3 interface and it doesn't mean they belong to the object storage category. The question is: does an interface or an access method defines a storage category? What is sure is that the ubiquitous presence of S3 reduces differentiators between vendors and kills the API battle.

Gartner has also a strong position about Cloud Storage Gateways (CSG) as the analyst firm declares that this technology is “obsolete before plateau” as written at the end of the Hype Cycle paragraph. What is sure is that the cloud gateway capability is now offered by various products but at the same time CSG provide more things that just a path to the cloud. Some time ago ESG has introduced a term that should be a better fit: Cloud Integrated Storage. The report displays different categories and we need to correct a few things:

  • Shared Accelerated Storage: where are Apeiron or Pavilion? Why Weka IO is listed here? • Management SDS: the missing actor is ProphetStor with Federator.
  • Cloud Data Backup: Where is Veritas? If you list Datos IO, you should list Imanis Data (former Talena).
  • Infrastructure SDS: what a mix. If you consider objet storage why vendors such DDN is not listed but globally this is a bizarre listing as we find vendors such Maxta or StorMagic and at the same time SwiftStack. Why StorPool is not listed here? We should see here StorONE next year.
  • Hyperconvergence: Atlantis Computing is still listed, ok you have an excuse, but the company sold its assets to Hive-IO. Where is GridStore?
  • Integrated Backup Appliances: as said above where are ExaGrid and NEC?
  • Storage Cluster File Systems: Really a bad name especially as Gartner defines it with the distributed file systems term as a single parallel file system. Wow. We should see here Rozo Systems and Weka IO.
  • IDA: very bizarre again with too diverse players. Why SimpliVity is listed here? Where are P2P players mentioned in a previous paragraph. We should see here Datomia if the category is maintained.
  • Object Storage: Where are Exablox, Hedvig, Huawei, Igneous, NEC, Noobaa?
  • Emerging Data storage Protection Schemes: what is this stuff? If Erasure Coding is listed and it is, Rozo Systems developer of the Mojette Transform must be added. Sqme for MemoScale, even Weka IO with its own N+M model. And one question: Is Reed Solomon really an emerging technology? Isilon introduced it in 2001!
  • Cloud Storage Gateways: Where is BridgeStor? This category sees a convergence of technology as many products add a S3 extension. It could be a tiering product like Komprise, StrongBox or Versity, a backup, archiving, migration, distributed file systems such Elastifile or Weka IO. This a large category not obsolete for sure as so many flavors exist.
  • Virtual Machine Backup and Recovery: Where is Nakivo? And of course Veritas?
  • Online Data Compression, Storage Multi-tenancy and Automated Storage Tiering are bizarre as well.
I stopped here as the report presents a huge work but the technologies listed are quite strange.

Also we wonder why the following vendors are not listed: Acronis, Apeiron, BridgeStor, Datomia, Datrium, Exablox, GridStore, Igneous, Imanis Data, Komprise, Nakivo, Noobaa, Pavilion Data Systems, Portworx, ProphetStor, Rozo Systems, StorageOS, StorPool, StrongBox, Vexata.
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