DCIG, LLC Announces First Guide for Enterprise Scale-out Storage

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Newest Resource Guide from DCIG Showcases Industry Solutions to Handle and Manage Growth Best in the Era of Big Data

“Enterprises need flexible storage solutions capable of scaling to meet the growth demands of their unstructured data stores,” said Craig Nunes, Director of Marketing, Storage, HP.

By conservative estimates, the amount of data enterprises create, manage and store is doubling year on year. By the end of 2010, the amount of data eclipsed the zettabyte mark – equivalent to everyone in the world posting Tweets on Twitter continuously for 100 years. Compounded by the need to search, share, analyze and visualize these ever growing datasets, organizations are turning to enterprise scale-out storage systems to handle the influx of this “Big Data.”

Enterprise scale-out storage systems are particularly unique as they provide an architecture that is also quickly becoming the foundation for many of today’s public and private storage clouds. However, as with many storage architectures there are a vast number of options where some vendors have adapted existing storage systems or others have opted for a pure cluster approach, where others may have opted for software only solutions.

With so many choices available, DCIG set out to evaluate and score appropriate options to help end users with a quick, easy, at-a-glance resource guide of several of the industry’s leading solutions. The intent with this Buyer’s Guide is to provide an apples-to-apples comparison so end users can select the most appropriate solution that best meets their needs.

As with all DCIG Buyer’s Guides, the DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyer’s Guide is not intended to be a substitute for internal testing. DCIG encourages any organization that is considering the purchase of an enterprise scale-out storage solution to do in-house testing if at all possible as each solution may react differently to an end users’ particular workloads.

For the DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyers’ Guide, DCIG looked at the features on each storage system and then created a 175-point questionnaire that covered more than 70 capabilities and features found across them. Once completed, the survey was sent to each vendor to validate what features their scale-out storage system model or models supported.

After the questionnaires were completed and returned each vendor’s responses were checked against publicly available data as well as double-checked with the vendors themselves. Features were then weighted, scored and ranked either “Best-in-Class,” “Recommended,” “Excellent,” “Good,” and “Basic”. The features were then compiled into individual product data sheets that reflect how each product supports these features.

Enterprise scale-out storage systems are particularly attractive to organizations as they can start with a small implementation (as little as a few nodes and a few terabytes) and then seamlessly add more performance and/or storage capacity as required. One particular enterprise scale-out storage system, the “Best-in-Class” HP X9000 IBRIX, could even grow its managed storage capacity to over 80 petabytes.

“In today’s economic climate, IT organizations needs to minimize the time spent on locating, identifying and evaluating appropriate solutions, so they can make best use of their resources to manage and support the right solutions,” said Jerome Wendt, co-author and founder, DCIG, LLC. “Based on the feedback received to date, we know these Buyer’s Guides are helping end users eliminate time, energy and wasted effort to find appropriate solutions before they do a hands-on or deeper evaluation. For end users looking for the most appropriate solution to address their Big Data challenges, this latest Buyer’s Guide should go a long way in helping them make the right choice.”

For inclusion in the DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyer’s Guide, each storage solution must have met the following criteria:

  •     Be available as an appliance that is available as a single SKU and includes its own hardware and software
  •     Contains nodes that are independently configurable for processing, storage or both. Each node may include its own power, network interface, and optional disk controllers
  •     Support horizontal scaling of drive capacity and throughput through the addition of nodes
  •     Support the vertical scaling of drive capacity and throughput by way of the independent upgrading of components within individual nodes
  •     Support Ethernet connectivity
  •     Support one or more of the following storage networking protocols:
  •     CIFS and NFS
  •     REST/Object storage
  •     iSCSI
  •     Fibre Channel and/or FCoE
  •     Support storage of data across multiple nodes
  •     Support the hot insertion and removal o individual nodes
  •     Provide sufficient information for DCIG to draw meaningful conclusion
  •     Model must ship by July 1, 2011

The DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyer’s Guide Top solutions include (in alphabetical order): BlueArc Titan 3200 Series, Mercury 110 and 55 Series; EMC Isilon IQ NL-Series, X-Series and S-Series; HP X9000 IBRIX Storage System; IBM SONAS; NetApp FAS6200 Series and FAS3200 Series.

Of the evaluated enterprise scale-out storage solutions, the HP X9000 IBRIX Storage System achieved the only “Best-In-Class” ranking. In comparison to other solutions, highlights of the “Best-in-Class” ranking included:

  •     Achieved in excess of 80 petabytes of storage capacity which is attributable to its mixed cluster approach and unmatched high node count
  •     Automated storage recovery
  •     High amounts of system RAM and individual node capacity
  •     Longer hardware warranty than other solutions with option to extend hardware warranty with supplemental support contract
  •     Support for both Fibre Channel and Infiniband storage networking protocols

“Enterprises need flexible storage solutions capable of scaling to meet the growth demands of their unstructured data stores,” said Craig Nunes, Director of Marketing, Storage, HP. “The DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyer’s Guide ranks the HP X9000 IBRIX as the leading scale-out storage solution, with the ability to deliver high performance, automated data tiering and three times more scalability than HP’s nearest competitor.”

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified more than 15 plus companies that provide Enterprise Scale-out storage solutions. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey with 175 questions that examined how its solution delivered on features associated with storage system’s administration, backup, hardware, OS support, replication and technical support. If specific features were supported and how well they were implemented contribute to specific category scores as well as an overall score for each scale-out storage system. In every case every vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this Buyer’s Guide.

DCIG also spoke to various end-users to get a sense of how they would weight their needs in these various areas. We then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.

The DCIG 2011 Enterprise Scale-out Storage Buyer's Guide is available immediately and may be downloaded for no charge with registration at the following link:


DCIG Blog: http://www.dcig.com

About DCIG
DCIG, LLC, is an analyst firm with headquarters in Texas, focusing on archive, backup, retrieval and storage systems. DCIG’s analysts blend analysis, journalism, advertising and marketing into compelling blog entries at http://www.dciginc.com as well as journalistic writings with leading trade and industry publications. DCIG’s goal is to provide evaluations and interview content on sponsoring and non-sponsoring companies to consumers, public relations firms, business analysts and other companies. DCIG distributes industry, company and product analysis by way of viral marketing and community building using the burgeoning BLOG infrastructures created worldwide.


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Jim Nash
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