This year the industry analyst firm, Gartner, retired two Magic Quadrants (Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays and the Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Storage Arrays), and replaced them with one Magic Quadrant: the Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage (it should be noted that this Magic Quadrant does not include companies participating in secondary/unstructured storage markets). In this latest report, NetApp has been named as a Leader based on their ability to execute and completeness of vision.
So, what makes a storage platform a “primary storage platform”? And, probably more importantly, how does a vendor become a leader in this category?
A primary storage platform is perhaps one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure in a data center. It provides the foundation for data center modernization efforts, assisting with digital business transformation. For starters, a primary storage solution needs to provide a broad range of data services that not only protect against data loss, but also provide sub-millisecond response times for structured and unstructured data workloads. It must be able to mirror or replicate data both locally and remotely, provide host interface connections for Fibre Channel, Ethernet (for iSCSI, NFS and CIFS), and most recently, support NVMe-oF (nonvolatile memory express over fabrics). It should also have deep integration with VMware, support pools of flash or have all flash product versions, support persistent storage for container-based environments to providing some sort of multi-tenancy or storage partitions.
Another distinction among primary storage solutions is their capacity density or what’s known as its storage efficiency. With the use of data deduplication, compression and compaction, storage efficiency can vary greatly across the spectrum of primary storage arrays. And now, primary storage solutions are being shaped by newer technologies such as integration with public clouds, support for object storage protocols and built-in artificial intelligence to resolve application performance issues to providing predictive hardware maintenance.
So, what makes a vendor a leader in this category?
Well, for NetApp, it’s their data fabric strategy. This is perhaps the biggest difference between NetApp and all the other primary storage vendors. Their data fabric (known as ONTAP) greatly simplifies data management for core, edge and cloud IT environments, and no other vendor has a complete hybrid cloud solution like NetApp. Most major primary storage vendors have a cloud strategy, but, to date, NetApp ONTAP delivers the deepest integration with the largest cloud storage service providers (Amazon, Google and Microsoft).
In addition, NetApp’s Active IQ uses artificial intelligence to proactively protect and optimize the storage infrastructure to maximize data availability and boost operational performance, not to mention their solid-state arrays have had end-to-end NVMe capabilities since 2018!
NetApp is a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for many reasons. They have a presence in the five major geographical regions, consistent financial performance and provide the broadest platform support in the industry. Even Lenovo decided to license an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) arrangement from NetApp. What other storage vendors have OEM agreements for their product?
Download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage reprint here.