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Gartner Reprint


Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object

Published: 20 October 2016 ID: G00307798
Analyst(s): Julia Palmer, Arun Chandrasekaran, Raj Bala

Bimodal approaches that demand infrastructure agility and scalability are stimulating market adoption of scale-out le
and object storage products. This research helps I&O leaders assess the key attributes, vision and execution prowess
of distributed le systems and object storage market vendors.

Strategic Planning Assumption

By 2021, more than 80% of enterprise data will be stored in scale-out storage systems in enterprise and cloud data
centers, up from 30% today.

Market Denition/Description
Scale-out storage systems are growing fast and becoming a popular platform to tackle the unabated growth of
unstructured data. With data growth exceeding 40% year over year in many enterprises, infrastructure and operations
(I&O) leaders are looking for extensible storage products that can address an increasing number of use cases with
lower acquisition and operational costs. Enterprises are demanding features and capabilities prevalent in big data
cloud infrastructures, such as self-healing and ease of management. Software-dened storage (SDS), deployed on
commodity hardware, is emerging as a threat to external controller-based (ECB) storage arrays in environments with a
steep growth of unstructured data. New and established storage vendors are continuing to develop scalable storage
clustered le systems and object storage products to address cost and scalability limitations in traditional, scale-up
storage environments.

Gartner denes distributed le systems and object storage as software and hardware solutions that offer object
and/or scale-out le technology to address requirements for unstructured data growth and based on "shared nothing
architecture." A shared nothing architecture is a distributed computing architecture in which each node is independent
and self-sufcient, and there is no single point of contention across the system (see the Acronym Key and Glossary
Terms section).

Distributed le system storage uses a single parallel le system to cluster multiple storage nodes together, presenting
a single namespace and storage pool to provide high bandwidth for multiple hosts in parallel. Data is distributed over
multiple nodes in the cluster to deliver data availability and resilience in a self-healing manner, and to provide high
throughput and capacity linearly.

Object storage refers to devices and software that house data in structures called "objects," and serve clients via
RESTful HTTP APIs, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and OpenStack Swift.

Magic Quadrant
Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage

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Source: Gartner (October 2016)

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

Caringo was established in 2005 and is privately held. Based in Austin, Texas, Caringo's main offering is Swarm, an
object storage product, which was originally launched in 2006 as CAStor and is now in its eighth version of software
release. The product has successfully focused on the needs of customers in sectors such as healthcare that require a
scalable and secure solution for storing data for regulatory compliance purposes with built-in search capabilities.
Caringo Swarm consists of redundant array of independent nodes (RAIN), where each node is capable of performing
all operations. There are no le systems or centralized metadata controllers, which enables a simple, resilient and
scalable architecture that has a at peer-to-peer structure. Caringo has a patented power savings technology called
Darkive, which spins down idle disks for energy savings and extension of hardware life. The Swarm product can be
deployed either bare-metal or as a virtual machine (VM) image on VMware ESXi or Microsoft Azure. Dell was formerly
an OEM partner of Caringo with a Dell-branded appliance that was discontinued in 2013. While Dell continues to be a
reseller partner of Caringo's today, with the EMC acquisition, this partnership looks uncertain.

Most of Caringo's customers are based in the U.S. and Western Europe. The vendor relies on a direct and inside sales
force to stimulate market demand for its products. Caringo has no direct presence in the Asia/Pacic region or Latin
America, and is dependent on channel partners to service and support those geographies.
Caringo Swarm is a mature object storage system that delivers competitive security and compliance features,
including legal hold and WORM capabilities, to ensure data immutability.

The pricing of Caringo Swarm is all-inclusive, competitive and exible. Caringo offers both a capacity-based
perpetual licensing model as well as subscription-based licensing with the option of small, incremental additions of

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Caringo's FileFly software, based on an OEM offering from Moonwalk, provides a simple and nondisruptive way to
migrate older les from existing NetApp and Windows systems, while maintaining metadata and ownership rights.
Caringo is a privately held company that is yet to be protable. Moreover, it has largely been self-funded in the past
several years, which has limited its ability to aggressively invest in its business.

Caringo has a weak partnership with server OEMs that limits its enterprise appeal due to a lack of wide reference
architectures and integrated support from the hardware vendors.

While Caringo has been in existence for more than a decade, its deployments tend to be smaller in size by capacity
when compared to many of its peers.

Cloudian is a Silicon Valley-based startup that develops HyperStore, an Amazon S3-compatible object storage
platform that has been available since March 2011. HyperStore is delivered as a turnkey integrated appliance or as a
software-only product that can run on industry-standard hardware. HyperStore offers on-premises storage and data
management, as well as replication, erasure coding and multitenancy services, and tiering to the Amazon Web
Services (AWS) cloud. A core part of HyperStore's appeal is its close compatibility with Amazon S3, which means that
applications and tools designed to be used with Amazon S3 will likely work with Cloudian's object storage platform.
The vendor has made a number of notable updates to HyperStore, such as an improved management UI with
distributed cluster management features, and has enabled cross-region replication. Cloudian has introduced rolling
upgrades and added HyperStore Connect for Network File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB) support.

One of the initial use cases for HyperStore was the storage and backup as a service for cloud service providers
(CSPs). However, the vendor has shifted from focusing on service providers in Japan to a more mainstream enterprise
market worldwide, and now has a mixture of customers from more-diverse verticals, geographies and sizes.

In the last 12 months, Cloudian has reinforced its relationship with OEM hardware partners (in particular Lenovo), as
well as released new Cloudian hardware appliances for both entry-level and multi-petabyte-scale markets.
HyperStore maintains closer compatibility with the Amazon S3 API than much of its competition.

Cloudian's multitenancy and quality of service features resonate well with large enterprises and CSPs.

HyperStore appliances provide robust, modular, high-density and resilient hardware options for a wide range of
end-user capacities.
Gartner clients outside of Japan and the U.S. are rarely evaluating HyperStore due to Cloudian's limited market
traction outside of those geographies.

Cloudian's marketing efforts are, in some cases, ahead of the reality of HyperStore's success in terms of traction in
the market, size of deployments and level of S3 API compatibility.

A cornerstone of Cloudian's vision includes hybrid cloud storage capabilities that involve data tiering to public cloud
services such as Amazon S3, but the market adoption of such features is negligibly low.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is a privately held company based in Santa Clara, California. The vendor offers Web Object
Scaler (WOS), an object storage product that supports a native web services interface in addition to providing Amazon
S3 and Swift compatibility. While DDN is a mature storage supplier to the high-performance computing (HPC) market,
much of its focus with WOS is outside of this space. HPC customers often deploy DDN's WOS-Bridge product that
allows WOS to be used as an archive tier for data that no longer requires high-performance primary storage.

WOS can be congured with policies to use replication and/or erasure coding depending on the data protection and
recovery time objective (RTO) requirements of the workload. DDN typically recommends that a customer use a
combination of replication and erasure coding for purposes of site failover in order to avoid elongated rebuild times
when signicant failure occurs. However, there are costs and RTO that should be evaluated by workload to avoid
creating duplicate copies of data. DDN offers WOS Access, a network-attached storage (NAS) gateway that offers NFS

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and SMB on the front end to communicate with the WOS object storage over a web service protocol on the back end.
WOS Access can be deployed at remote ofce locations to provide NFS and SMB access in a hub-and-spoke
deployment model with WOS on the back end. WOS ArchiveDirector is a le archiving gateway that provides retention
management by policy to prevent accidental or intentional deletion of content, along with compression and
deduplication. WOS supports LDAP and Active Directory integration for import and management of users within WOS.

DDN has sold WOS as a turnkey hardware appliance since 2008 and has more recently shifted to allowing WOS to be
deployed as software with broad hardware support. As such, DDN offers reference architectures of WOS with Dell,
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Supermicro and the Open Compute Project (OCP).
DDN has a heritage in the HPC market and has the resources in place to serve these customers well with WOS.

Enterprises can select from a variety of WOS hardware and software deployment options that suits infrastructure,
cost and management preferences.

DDN offers seamless integration between WOS and its parallel le system appliances, GRIDScaler and EXAScaler,
for handling warm and cold datasets between these environments transparently.
WOS prioritizes performance over security features, and lacks server-side encryption and HTTP authentication.

WOS's S3 API compatibility, which uses Apache Hbase, is implemented on an architecture that does not scale well
beyond a single site.

Some reference customers that currently use WOS rated DDN poorly in terms of delivering on sales promises in
addition to solving challenges with respect to deploying and operating complex WOS-based infrastructures,

Dell EMC
Dell EMC has two products that are included in this research: Dell EMC Isilon and Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage
(ECS). With Isilon, a mature scale-out NAS product with deployment across many enterprises and service provider
verticals and geographies, end users consolidate large datasets onto one distributed le system for high scalability
and throughput. ECS is a platform that supports object, NFS and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), with the
ability to store billions of objects for cloud-native applications.

The Isilon OneFS operating system is on its eighth generation of software release and has more than 7,000 customer
deployments for use cases such as analytics, le sharing, backup and archiving. Isilon's modular design dynamically
scales from 16TB to 68PB by adding additional nodes in a single cluster. Through a set of data services and tight
independent software vendor (ISV) integration, Isilon has been adding product features to expand product capabilities,
from traditional home directories and active archiving to big data analytics and video surveillance workloads.
Customers can choose a combination of several different platform models to match specic performance and
capacity needs: high transactional, economical, high density or software-only. The latest OneFS release includes
CloudPools, which allows customers to tier data to cloud storage, support for software-dened IsilonSD Edge and
nondisruptive rolling upgrades. Isilon is leading the scale-out le system product market due to its stability, high data
efciency, management simplicity, scalability and data mobility, as well as a high level of customer satisfaction across
many enterprise verticals.

ECS became generally available in June 2015 and now has 250-plus customers, many with over 1PB in their
deployments. ECS has compatibility with HDFS, OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3, as well as APIs for Centera and
Atmos. ECS can be deployed as a fully integrated appliance that scales well with a density of up to 3.8PB per single
rack or as a software-only storage solution on certied commodity hardware of the customer's choice. ECS can be
obtained as a subscription with a pay-per-use consumption model, and is now starting to gain wider customer and
service provider adoption. ECS is positioned to address use cases that require distributed architecture, global
namespace spanning across data centers with active/active access, geoprotection, multiprotocol access and
metadata search.
Isilon continues to grow enterprise adoption from traditional le system support to additional use cases, including
video surveillance, big data analytics, backup and active archive.

ECS has a proven track record of large production deployments across a variety of enterprises and is becoming an

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attractive price/performance platform for a variety of end users, including CSPs.

End users looking to build a platform for unstructured data applications will nd Dell EMC's broad portfolio of
products, aggressive pricing, and new deployment and consumption models (such as software-only purchases,
leasing, subscription and utility-based pricing) attractive.
End users may feel the impact of sales or support changes as, postacquisition, Dell Technologies (which has
acquired EMC) might pivot sales strategies, support offerings and R&D priorities for Dell EMC products.

The current version of Isilon OneFS is not ash-optimized, and is not suited for small les and metadata-intensive
workloads with low-latency requirements.

Based on client inquiries, comparatively high ECS acquisition costs cause some Gartner clients to explore
lower-cost object storage alternatives.

Hitachi Data Systems

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), based in Santa Clara, California, develops and markets the Hitachi Content Platform
(HCP), an object storage product with enterprise le synchronization and sharing (EFSS) (HCP Anywhere) and a cloud
storage gateway (Hitachi Data Ingestor [HDI]) components. HCP, rst made available in 2006, is a mature product with
deployments across a range of industries, including nancial services, healthcare and public-sector enterprises. HCP's
maturity and legacy as a compliance-focused archiving platform is supported by a broad range of ISV solutions,
including content archiving, medical imaging, cloud storage gateways and enterprise content management (ECM)

In addition to using ISV applications, customers also build cloud-native applications using Amazon S3-compatibility
supported by HCP. HCP Anywhere supports le synchronization clients on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Windows
Phone. HDI can be placed at remote ofces, and supports NFS and SMB protocols for access to data by applications
and users while an HCP object store is managed centrally. In this regard, HDS is currently unique in that it both
partners with vendors and develops its own EFSS and cloud storage gateway products. HCP offers a number of
reporting capabilities that allow enterprises to separately charge back individual departments or applications for their
specic usage. HCP integrates with both Active Directory and OpenStack Keystone for identity and token management

HCP supports a multitude of deployment options, but is most often delivered as a precongured appliance sold as a
perpetual license or as a software appliance running as a VM in a VMware ESXi host. HCP can also be consumed with
consumption-based pricing as a managed service, hosted private cloud, or public cloud service operated by HDS and
other partners.
HCP is a stable product supported by consistently positive marks by customers in terms of reliability.

HCP has a large number of object storage customers across a diverse set of industries and workloads, offering
enterprises a wide assortment of ISV applications and reference customers.

Enterprises with requirements to provide mobile access to data and to support remote ofces underpinned by an
object storage platform can acquire these combined solutions from a single vendor, rather than deal with multiple
vendors that "meet in the market."
The average capacity of an HCP deployment and amount of data stored tend to be smaller than the Leaders in this
Magic Quadrant. Gartner clients are not reexively looking to HDS to solve the challenges related to managing
petabyte-scale unstructured data with HCP.

HDS does not serve the distributed le system segment of the market well and is signicantly behind the Leaders in
terms of capabilities in this area.

HCP doesn't have mind share among developers building modern, Mode 2 applications. In contrast, HCP is largely
perceived as being ideal for Mode 1 workloads consisting of archiving and regulatory compliance.

China-based Huawei offers the OceanStor 9000 product, which has been available since 2013 and, according to the

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vendor, is now the fastest-growing product in Huawei's storage portfolio. Delivered as a hardware appliance, the
OceanStor 9000 is particularly well-suited for the media and entertainment industries, and video surveillance. There
are now more than 90 customers with greater than 1PB deployments.

Huawei OceanStor 9000 is a scale-out distributed le system product providing shared storage for unstructured data.
OceanStor 9000 provides le services via NFS and CIFS shares, and object storage through Amazon S3 and OpenStack
Swift interfaces. It features an all-active, share-nothing symmetric distributed architecture, where data and metadata
are distributed to all the nodes to deliver performance and resilience at scale. The product scales from three to 288
nodes, with single le system support up to 100PB. Huawei is sold as a hardware appliance only and has several
different hardware node options, each optimized for small capacity, high IOPS; large capacity and high bandwidth; or
video surveillance, and archiving, and supports intermixed node deployment.

In September 2015, OceanStor 9000 added object (S3 and Swift) and object deduplication support under the same
unied storage management umbrella. Despite this, OceanStor 9000 is still primarily being deployed for le system
workloads requiring high bandwidth and scalability.
The OceanStor 9000's highlights are high scalability and resilience, supporting up to 100PB of storage on up to 288
nodes based on a symmetrical distributed architecture.

The OceanStor 9000 is particularly suitable for enterprises in the Asia/Pacic region, as Huawei has expanded its
presence and witnessed a triple-digit increase in its year-over-year revenue.

The OceanStor 9000 is well-suited for video surveillance, media workow and media asset management use cases.
Huawei's long-term storage product roadmap remains uncertain for enterprise IT buyers. This has included its recent
decision to discontinue its OceanStor UDS, Huawei's dedicated object storage product line that has struggled to
gain traction.

Huawei's service, support and reseller network for storage products continues to be weak in the North American
market, where it still struggles to grow its market share due to geopolitical and brand perception issues.

The OceanStor 9000 object protocol is less mature than le, as the majority of its existing end users are only utilizing
the le protocol portion of the unied storage product.

IBM has two products included in this research IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage. IBM Spectrum
Scale is based on General Parallel File System (GPFS), a distributed le system built by IBM researchers in the late
1990s. IBM Spectrum Scale is highly scalable and delivers competitive concurrent throughput performance due to its
decentralized architecture and efcient data placement across the nodes. The product also supports information life
cycle management by supporting IBM Spectrum Archive (tape) and tiering to cloud storage. While GPFS has long been
sold as an integrated hardware platform, the recent focus on software-dened deployment models both
on-premises and in the IBM Cloud has the potential to increase the attractiveness of the product to prospective

IBM's acquisition of Cleversafe in 4Q15 gave IBM a competitive, mature, proven and scalable product in the
fast-growing object storage market. The product has been rebranded as IBM Cloud Object Storage. Cleversafe's
market differentiation is protected through a robust patent portfolio, with the vendor having been granted more than
400 patents. Cleversafe has several PB-scale customers, with a few exceeding 100PB in installed capacity. By
implementing a distributed erasure coding (information dispersal) algorithm, the product enables high availability at
lower-capacity overhead, with the ability to tolerate site failures. IBM Cloud Object Storage supports the S3 and Swift
APIs on the front end for access. IBM Spectrum Scale can now tier to IBM Cloud Object Storage, with further
integration being one of the key roadmap goals for the product teams.
IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage are mature products with exible deployment options and
hundreds of PB-scale customers.

IBM Cloud Object Storage delivers a differentiated way to secure data at rest. It's all or nothing (AONT) encryption is
integrated with its information dispersal algorithm to lower the potential for data breaches, and it obviates the need

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for external key management.

IBM Spectrum Scale delivers competitive throughput performance for both small and large les; provides broad
support for interfaces, including NFS, SMB, REST (S3, Swift) and HDFS; and can tier data to Amazon S3 and the IBM
Cloud Object Storage.
The IBM Cloud Object Storage product lacks native support for le access and needs third-party tools to enable it.

Based on Gartner client feedback, IBM Spectrum Scale's licensing is difcult to understand with several editions of
the software that are licensed on a per-socket basis with a mix of different license types (server, client and File
Placement Optimizer [FPO] licenses), based on the role performed by the node.

Cleversafe was acquired by the SoftLayer division of IBM. This may result in future product development priorities
for IBM Cloud Object Storage to be more closely aligned to the needs of SoftLayer than that of enterprise IT.

Based in Sunnyvale, California, NetApp remains one of the leaders in ECB block and le storage. NetApp's
StorageGRID Webscale is an object storage product providing API-accessible, distributed storage with the ability to
scale across geographies. StorageGRID Webscale supports the major object protocols (and offers NAS access) on
dedicated hardware or as VMs in either VMware or OpenStack environments. The origin of NetApp StorageGRID
Webscale comes from the acquisition of Bycast in 2010, with a strong footprint in healthcare records storage and

StorageGRID Webscale 10.2 is a distributed content repository using object storage software with metadata stored in
a distributed NoSQL database with distributed access. Up to 70PB of storage and 100 billion objects across up to 16
geodispersed sites in a single namespace are supported. StorageGRID Webscale also supports object archiving to
tape and/or any S3-complaint cloud storage. The NetApp AltaVault cloud gateway product can be integrated with
StorageGRID Webscale as a target for data backup and archive. StorageGRID Webscale supports multiple deployment
models, including software-only deployments and NetApp-engineered appliances, with an ability to mix and match
both in the same cluster.

NetApp released StorageGRID Webscale two years ago, and it has been signicantly rewritten to correct the
architectural scalability limitations of its preceding generations. The latest improvements include S3 API
enhancements; support for CIFS, NFS and Swift APIs; geodistributed hierarchical erasure coding; multitenant identity
federation; and policy-driven cloud tiering.
NetApp has a mature service and support infrastructure, and a presence in 100 countries worldwide.

The new StorageGRID Webscale product has been redesigned to improve metadata handling, such as scalability and

StorageGRID Webscale has unique identity and access management (IAM) capabilities that mimic those of AWS,
resulting in a seamless transition between public cloud and on-premises object storage environments.
Substantial parts of StorageGRID Webscale have been rewritten and are currently lacking large-scale reference

StorageGRID Webscale lacks integration with the NetApp Ontap product line to provide enterprises with a unied
distributed le and object storage experience.

StorageGRID Webscale lacks a strategic focus within NetApp compared to its other products with signicantly more
market penetration, which impacts the resources allocated to develop StorageGrid and bring it to market.

Panasas, based in Sunnyvale, California, is a privately held storage company that has primarily focused on the HPC
storage market. Its agship product is the ActiveStor appliance, which is based on its PanFS distributed le system.
The vendor's focus has been on building high-performance storage products with high scalability, availability and ease
of use. Due to its ash-enabled architecture and through its proprietary protocol that enables direct, parallel access by
clients, ActiveStor delivers robust performance with support for both InniBand and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Its RAID 6+

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data protection scheme offers triple parity protection with rebuild performance that can scale linearly. The product is
sold based on raw capacity with all-inclusive licensing, while the actual usable capacity varies based on the end user's
choice of data protection level.

The key target industries where Panasas has had market traction include energy, public sector, life sciences,
manufacturing, media and entertainment, and research. In 2015, Panasas made a strategic shift to focus more on the
commercial market due to stagnant revenue in the HPC space and declining gross margins. In order to serve
enterprise customers, the vendor has been focusing on driving channel partner growth with new partners such as
Ingram Micro.
Panasas is an established leader in the high-performance storage space, providing integrated hardware and
software support with deep workow integration with applications in industries such as life sciences,
manufacturing, energy and the public sector.

ActiveStor supports multiprotocol access including NFS and SMB, as well as the vendor's proprietary protocol,
Direct Flow, which enables high-performance parallel data access from clients to the storage system.

Due to its object-based le system architecture and distributed approach to erasure codes, Panasas is able to
protect data at a le level, resulting in lower-capacity overheads and faster rebuilds.
Panasas' historical focus on the lower-margin HPC market can impact its ability to scale investment in the highly
competitive commercial scale-out NAS market.

Panasas delivers limited data services and has weak integration with horizontal ISVs in backup/recovery and
archiving space.

The ActiveStor product neither supports RESTful APIs on the front end nor does it support any kind of integrated
cloud tiering.

Red Hat
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Red Hat has two open-source products that have been included in this research, both
of which have come through acquisitions. Red Hat acquired Inktank in 2014, a provider of maintenance and support
for the popular open-source Ceph project. Red Hat Ceph Storage, as it is now called, delivers unied block, le and
object access in a single system with an ability to scale out to PBs of data, all on commodity hardware. Ceph's
architecture is underpinned by RADOS, a distributed object storage service, which uses a unique algorithm to handle
data placement that balances availability and performance. The Ceph project is supported by a vibrant open-source
ecosystem with aggressive software release cycles and robust community support. OpenStack private cloud
implementations have been the primary focus of the Ceph community, where Ceph continues to enjoy wide popularity
and broad support from distribution vendors for OpenStack VM storage. In addition, other common use cases include
content distribution, backup and archiving target. Red Hat Ceph is licensed based on capacity with subscription-based
pricing that is competitive when compared to the other proprietary products in this space.

Red Hat acquired Gluster in 2011, and the product is now called Red Hat Gluster Storage. It is a scale-out,
multiprotocol (NFS, RESTful APIs, SMB), open-source storage software solution, with PB-scale capacity and
competent data protection (snapshots and replication) capabilities. Following Red Hat's acquisition of Inktank, the
Red Hat Gluster Storage product now primarily targets le-protocol-based use cases. Through a regular cadence of
software releases, Red Hat has kept the product competitive with last year's software release, including important
capabilities such as erasure coding, automated tiering with support for ash and easier snapshot scheduling. Red Hat
Gluster Storage has a node-based licensing scheme. As a rst integration step, Red Hat recently released a common
administration platform with Red Hat Ceph Storage 2, which is intended to manage both products in the future.
Red Hat has strong enterprise pedigree with a proven commercial model for open-source software with a
differentiated storage portfolio that is focused on bimodal requirements of enterprise IT.

The Ceph project has an active community of code committers and a growing ecosystem of OEM partners, such as
Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, SanDisk and Supermicro, that have built either reference architectures or appliances.

Red Hat Gluster Storage offers customers exible deployment options bare-metal install, virtual storage appliance

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on KVM, VMware hypervisors, AWS and Microsoft Azure public clouds, and as a Docker image. It can also be
deployed as a hyperconverged appliance through third-party server OEMs.
Ceph deployments often require a major effort from enterprise users, calling for careful instrumentation to optimize
and ne-tune cluster performance and reliability for chosen hardware.

The Ceph Filesystem (Ceph FS) isn't mature enough to be deployed for production use cases in the enterprise due to
limited data protection features. It is in a tech preview phase and only recommended for OpenStack le-as-a-service

Gartner client inquiries reveal confusion over the growing product overlap between Gluster and Ceph, further
heightened by the recent announcement of Ceph FS.

Scality is a venture-backed, privately held company that develops object and scale-out le storage software, with R&D
in France and sales and marketing based in Silicon Valley. First released in 2010, Scality Ring is scale-out, peer-to-peer
distributed shared-nothing software that can be deployed on any x86 commodity hardware; HPE and Dell are formal
resellers of this technology, and have predened Scality SKUs. At the end of 2015, HPE had also invested in Scality.
Ring has more than 100 large customers, including service providers, public sector, life sciences, nancial services,
research institutions and large enterprises. IT leaders have implemented Ring for email hosting, content distribution,
active archive and private storage cloud.

Ring supports congurable erasure coding and replication in a peer-to-peer architecture that provides efciency at
scale, with no single point of failure. Ring is based on a standard Linux distribution nonmodied kernel, and supports
standard protocols for objects (S3, CDMI, le [NFS, SMB, FUSE]) and OpenStack (Swift, Glance and Cinder). Unlike
many competitive products, Ring supports native le system access to Ring storage through the le connector servers
and the integrated virtual le system that provides le storage services without the need for external le gateways, as
is commonly required by other object storage products.

Scality Ring is best-suited for large multipetabyte deployments with geographically distributed sites, with some
reference customers reaching 30PB deployments. Throughout its existence, Scality has been focusing on improving
product performance for challenging workloads like small les and random input/output (I/O). In a recent release,
Scality Ring enhanced its le system support, including automatic failover, and improved parallel and multiuser write
performance to the same le system directories. In addition, Scality S3 API now supports integration with Microsoft
Active Directory and with AWS IAM, providing multitenancy for enterprise user groups.
Scality has strong channel partnerships and OEM relationships with Dell and HPE.

Scality Ring provides a native unied (le and object) platform for enterprise customers.

Scality Ring is designed to provide good performance for small les, which allows it to target replacing traditional
NAS for unstructured and semistructured data.
Customer sales and support experience in North America has been mixed due to high sales turnover and signicant
changes to Scality's workforce in 2015.

Scality Ring is not designed as a replacement for general-purpose NAS solutions, as it is not optimized for heavy
metadata and random access workloads, and does not have all the features of enterprise NAS (snapshots, NFS v.4

Scality is the largest independent distributed le system and object storage vendor that does not sell its solution as
a preintegrated hardware appliance; as a result, it is a potential acquisition target for a larger vendor seeking to add
products and expertise focused on an emerging market.

SUSE, based in Nurnberg, Germany, is a contributor to Ceph, an open-source storage software project, which SUSE
Enterprise Storage (SES) is based on and which was rst made available in 2015. SUSE is focused on adding
installation and management capabilities to its contributions to Ceph. Ceph is mostly used as block storage, with the
primary use cases being databases and VM storage, but Ceph's block storage interface is based on an object storage

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foundation. As such, Ceph is sometimes used as a stand-alone object storage platform as well, since it supports the
Amazon S3 and OpenStack Swift protocols that are commonly used in object storage deployments. Most customers
that use Ceph primarily for its object storage capabilities are comfortable deploying open-source software on
commodity hardware themselves and managing the complexities that this can entail. Often, customers rely on the
Ceph community for support, but occasionally customers start down this route and then seek support from an
organization such as SUSE.

The base conguration of SES includes four storage nodes and six infrastructure nodes that include monitoring,
management, object storage, iSCSI and metadata services. Customers can expand on this base conguration node by
node for a nominal price. SUSE has a partnership with it-novum to jointly provide Ceph management capabilities using
the openATTIC open-source project. SES is available on Apollo and Proliant servers through an OEM relationship with
HPE and sales partnerships with Cisco and Lenovo.
SES is aggressively priced, based on nodes rather than capacity, and, as a result, customers can deploy
cost-efcient object storage using commodity servers with densely congured disk storage.

SUSE is focused on making OpenStack more enterprise-consumable through efforts such as improving backup and
recovery with Ceph.

SES may appeal to existing customers of SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLES), a frequently deployed operating system
particularly for Mode 1 applications.
The majority of SES deployments are in Europe, whereas the product has negligible adoption in North America,
reecting SUSE's recent entry in the market for enterprise storage and a lack of credibility in the space.

Few Gartner clients are considering SES for its object storage capabilities as most of SUSE's Ceph customers use
the product primarily as block storage.

SUSE has overly ambitious plans with a forthcoming release that includes support for Ceph FS, which is largely
considered to not be enterprise-ready by other upstream contributors to Ceph.

SwiftStack, based in San Francisco, California, is the main contributor to Swift, an open-source object storage project
in the OpenStack suite of cloud infrastructure software. SwiftStack, in its commercial role, develops a product that
allows enterprises to better deploy and manage a SwiftStack cluster, which rst started shipping in 2013. Although the
foundation of SwiftStack is based on OpenStack Swift, the vendor has also adopted the Amazon S3 API because of
the sheer size of the S3 ecosystem of integrated tools and the market opportunity, compared to Swift.

SwiftStack supports backup and archiving to its platform using Commvault and Veritas' NetBackup. SwiftStack also
offers a virtual drive that provides desktop users with drive letter access to the object storage repository. Although
SwiftStack works with other cloud storage gateway vendors such as Ctera, it also develops its own SMB- and
NFS-based cloud storage gateway that has the benet of access interoperability between the le and object storage
protocols. This allows, for example, videos or other rich media to be created using NFS, but read using the Amazon S3

The prole of an enterprise customer that deploys SwiftStack is different from an enterprise that deploys competing
Ceph offerings as a stand-alone object storage platform. Although both products have substantial open-source
foundations and are commonly deployed with OpenStack, the prole of a SwiftStack customer is more mainstream
than that of Ceph when used as stand-alone object stores. When customers evaluate SwiftStack, they are typically
focused on attributes such as total cost of ownership (TCO), company viability and support. The open-source nature of
Swift is often of secondary importance when customers are considering SwiftStack. SwiftStack has a partnership with
Cisco, whereby Cisco resells SwiftStack with its UCS servers and as part of its Metapod offering that is deployed
on-premises, but operated remotely by Cisco.
SwiftStack has developed signicant capabilities to reduce the costs of implementing and operating an OpenStack
Swift cluster.

Customers consistently rate SwiftStack highly for reliability, overall relationship with the vendor and satisfaction

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from the presales phase to product deployment.

Despite being a comparably smaller company and salesforce, enterprises are beginning to consider SwiftStack
alongside the other, more established vendors with much larger sales operations.
Swift requires signicant tuning to optimize performance for particular hardware and workloads, and this often
limits the appeal of SwiftStack to enterprise buyers.

SwiftStack has focused much of its efforts on the Amazon S3 API due to the sheer size of the S3 ecosystem and the
market opportunity, leaving its commitment to OpenStack Swift API origins in question.

The vendor has wide support for server and storage hardware that may result in support issues for congurations
that are not commonly deployed or tested.

Vendors Added and Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants as markets change. Because of these adjustments,
the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant one year
and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reection
of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

To qualify for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must meet all of the following requirements:

Revenue must be above $10 million per year for the distributed le system and/or object storage product between 1
May 2015 and 30 April 2016, or there should be at least 50 production customers with 300TB or more for utilizing
distributed le or object storage protocols.

The product must be installed in at least two major geographies (among North America, EMEA, the Asia/Pacic
region and South America).

The vendor should own the storage software intellectual property and be a primary software developer for the
storage product, with an exclusion for open-source software.


The product must be sold as either an appliance or a software-based solution.

The product must be available for purchase as a stand-alone storage product, and not as an integrated or converged
system with a compute and hypervisor bundle.

Product Capabilities:

The product must have:

File and/or object access to the common namespace/le system.

A shared nothing architecture where data is replicated or erasure coded over the network across multiple nodes in
the cluster. The product must also have the ability to handle disk, enclosure or node failures in a graceful manner,
without affecting availability.

A single le system capable of expanding beyond 300TB.

A global namespace capable of 1PB expansion.

A cluster that spans more than three nodes.

Support for horizontal scaling of capacity and throughput in a cluster mode or in independent node additions with a
global namespace/le system.

Vendors to Watch
The following vendors did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the Magic Quadrant, but may be worthy of
consideration as they are starting to get more traction in the unstructured data storage market:


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Formation Data Systems








Evaluation Criteria
Ability to Execute
We analyze the vendor's capabilities across broad business functions. Ability to Execute reects the market conditions
and, to a large degree, it is our analysis and interpretation of what we hear from the market. Gartner analysts evaluate
vendors on the quality and efcacy of the processes, systems, methods or procedures that enable IT provider
performance to be competitive, efcient and effective, and to positively impact revenue, retention and reputation
within Gartner's view of the market.

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria Weighting

Product or Service High

Overall Viability High

Sales Execution/Pricing Medium

Market Responsiveness/Record High

Marketing Execution Low

Customer Experience High

Operations Low

Source: Gartner (October 2016)

Completeness of Vision
Completeness of Vision distills a vendor's view of the future, the direction of the market and the vendor's role in
shaping that market. We expect the vendor's vision to be compatible with our view of the market's evolution. A
vendor's vision of the evolution of the data center and the expanding role of distributed le and object storage are
important criteria. In contrast with how we measure Ability to Execute criteria, the rating for Completeness of Vision is
based on direct vendor interactions, and on our analysis of the vendor's view of the future.

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria Weighting

Market Understanding High

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Evaluation Criteria Weighting

Marketing Strategy Low

Sales Strategy Medium

Offering (Product) Strategy High

Business Model Medium

Vertical/Industry Strategy Medium

Innovation High

Geographic Strategy Medium

Source: Gartner (October 2016)

Quadrant Descriptions
Vendors in the Leaders quadrant have the highest scores for their Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. A
vendor in the Leaders quadrant has the market share, credibility, and marketing and sales capabilities needed to drive
the acceptance of new technologies. Market Leaders will typically be able to execute strongly across multiple
geographies with products that cover both distributed le systems and object storage offerings. They will also have
consistent nancial performance, broad platform support and exible deployments models.

Challengers are typically vendors with proven global presence and market achievement that only target a narrower
subset of the market, or have not yet established themselves across the broader market. They have strong products,
as well as sufcient credible market position and resources to sustain continued growth in the future, but currently fall
behind on inuence and thought leadership for this market segment.

These are typically vendors that are focusing on strong innovation and product differentiation, but are smaller vendors
with limited reach or achievement to date, or larger vendors with innovation programs that are still unproven. A vendor
in the Visionaries quadrant delivers innovative products that address operationally or nancially important end-user
problems on a broad scale, but has not demonstrated the ability to capture market share or sustainable protability.

Niche Players
Many distributed le system or object storage vendors will address a more narrow market niche, or they may be
vendors with market programs that have not yet established their differentiation and/or execution ability. However,
Niche Player vendors may address their specic market category and excel by focusing on specic market or vertical

This Magic Quadrant represents vendors that sell products for unstructured data growth for enterprise data centers.
The distributed le system and object storage market emerged as a response to the tremendous uptake in
unstructured data generation that is fueled by new business requirements. To address it, the storage platform has to
be based on a scale-out software approach to enable seamless data growth with a strong emphasis on long-term data
efciency for cost optimization. I&O leaders are now looking for distributed scale-out storage products to build new
platforms based on software-dened approaches where performance comes from hardware innovation of a
commodity hardware layer and data resiliency comes from a scale-out software layer where data is distributed across
multiple nodes.

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Across many products in this market, vendors are providing appliances, software-only products and preintegrated
storage systems to t the needs of the different deployment strategies of enterprise end users.

As the distributed le system and object storage market matures, storage software and hardware vendors are
expanding their product portfolios to provide more differentiated and agile offerings. New consumption models and
procurement offerings are emerging to provide end users with different ways to purchase storage. Advances in
software technology and the commoditization of the hardware will make it possible for I&O leaders to enjoy web-scale
economics and scalability of the storage platform for unstructured data growth of bimodal IT.

Market Overview
The markets for distributed le systems and object storage are merging. That is the reason Gartner is publishing a
single Magic Quadrant on the combined segments - it will eventually be one market. The distinctions between the
two segments are slowly blurring, but the buyers are already treating it as one market.

Enterprises are often deciding between public cloud and on-premises infrastructure for given workloads.
Organizational culture and sensitivity to security and governance mandates are typically the leading factors that
enterprises consider when deciding whether to move applications and data to the public cloud or to keep them

When customers choose to keep the applications and data on-premises, they are increasingly choosing between
products such as Dell EMC Isilon and IBM Cloud Object Storage for large sets of unstructured data. In many cases,
customers seeking solutions in this market would be better-suited with a single product that has both le and object
personalities, so that workloads can seamlessly interact with data using the most appropriate protocol for the specic
task and environment.

Startups and Innovation

Formerly risk-averse enterprises have become receptive to buying from storage startups that are using clean-sheet
designs and a wealth of knowledge to build more efcient systems. This is illustrated by the popularity of products
such as solid-state arrays, HCIS, distributed le systems and object storage. The technical and business model
disruption of the incumbent vendors led by the startups and their reception within enterprises has triggered
consolidation and caused vendors such as Dell EMC to also take a clean-sheet design in building ECS, its third
endeavor in the object storage market.

The startups in the distributed le system segment are still emerging and did not meet the inclusion criteria outlined
for this Magic Quadrant as a result, but the object storage startups did. The object storage startups are challenging the
incumbents with new paradigms for deployment and operation that ultimately lower TCO.

Choice in Deployment
The vendors in the market for distributed le systems and object storage are offering mixed deployment options to
give customers choices in how they deploy infrastructure. Common deployment options include turnkey appliances,
VMs and servers from the likes of Dell EMC, HPE and Supermicro. Increasingly, vendors in this market are offering
their products as deployable application containers using Docker. While choice becomes an important attribute in
terms of deployment options, the market has coalesced around a single vendor's proprietary protocol.

Amazon S3 Brings a Market to Equilibrium

The current object storage segment can be thought of as a two-sided market: There are providers of object storage
protocols and consumers of these protocols consisting of applications. There were more providers than consumers
until the Amazon S3 API became the de facto standard for object storage. Vendors deploying object storage platforms
in enterprise data centers adopted Amazon S3, a protocol mainly used in the public cloud, because of the developer
community that formed around it. Now there are many consumers and providers, all using Amazon S3. The object
storage market is nally in equilibrium.

The interest in using public cloud services such as AWS has brought customer awareness to the object storage
market. Software developers building Mode 2 web and mobile applications are sometimes asked to repatriate these
applications back to enterprise data centers. Enterprise IT seeks control of applications and data, while software
developers seek novel and efcient ways of programmatically interacting with infrastructure. The market for
on-premises object storage products solves both of these.

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A Hybrid Cloud Storage Bridge to Nowhere

A relatively recent trend among object storage vendors is the introduction of hybrid cloud storage features. Many
vendors, noting IBM as one of the most vocal proponents, are actively building data tiering from on-premises object
storage platforms to public cloud storage services such as Amazon S3. The overall adoption of these features to date
has been negligibly low. To understand why, one needs to consider the market for cloud storage gateways. The cloud
storage gateway market has employed the very hybrid cloud storage functionality now being introduced by object
storage vendors, but in the eight years that cloud storage gateways have been available, they also have experienced
low adoption. Hybrid cloud storage infrastructure represents a hedge between on-premises and public cloud
environments. Enterprises are simply not placing these hedged bets between public and private cloud infrastructure.
This is evidenced by the total amount of data written through a cloud storage gateway to a public cloud storage
service provider. Less than 0.003% of all data in the public cloud was written through a storage gateway. The adoption
of these features in object storage platforms is likely to be similar.

Acronym Key and Glossary Terms

Shared A shared nothing architecture is a distributed computing architecture in which each node is
Nothing independent and self-sufcient, and there is no single point of contention across the system.
Architecture More specically, none of the nodes share memory or disk storage. People typically contrast
shared nothing with systems that keep a large amount of centrally stored state information,
whether in a database, an application server or any other similar single point of contention.

Gartner client inquiries in 2015 and 1H16

Vendor interviews and product demonstrations in 2015 and 1H16

Surveys of included vendors

Customer reference surveys in 1H16

Public information, such as press releases, vendor websites and community support forums

Evaluation Criteria Denitions

Ability to Execute
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the dened market. This includes current
product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM
agreements/partnerships as dened in the market denition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's nancial health, the nancial and
practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the
product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This
includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales

Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be exible and achieve competitive success as
opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also
considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efcacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's
message to inuence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish
a positive identication with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be
driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the
products evaluated. Specically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This

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can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups,
service-level agreements and so on.

Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the
organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the
organization to operate effectively and efciently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into
products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and
needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.

Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization
and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales,
marketing, service, and communication afliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise,
technologies, services and the customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes
differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.

Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specic needs of
individual market segments, including vertical markets.

Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment,
consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.

Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specic needs of
geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as
appropriate for that geography and market.

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