Ceph suppliers play catch-up in software-defined block storage market

Kaminario, Commvault and DataCore are the top software-defined block storage suppliers. However, open source Ceph is a follower in this market.

So says GigaOm, the tech analyst firm, which has published supplier comparisons for software-defined block storage, using its Radar marketscape methodology.

Software-defined block storage is characterised as software available for multi-vendor commodity servers. It is sold as software-only, pre-installed and configured bundles or pre-configured appliances. GigaOm report author Enrico Signoretti therefore does not include companies that make their software available on-premises on the supplier’s hardware only – such as Dell EMC’s PowerFlex or NetApp ONTAP.

DataCore, founded in 1998, is the longest established of the top trio, followed by Kaminario, which set up in 2008 as an all-flash array supplier and has since evolved into a software-defined supplier using certified hardware delivered by its channel. Commvault is a new entrant, courtesy of last year’s acquisition of Hedvig. Datera and StorOne are also rated as leaders, and StorPool is on the cusp of breaking into the top ranks.

Signoretti seems to regard NVMe-oF as ‘table stakes’ – companies that lag in support for the fast network protocol fare less well in the GigaOm radar. They include Red Hat, SoftIron and SUSE, which all use Ceph as their software platform, and DDN Nexenta.


Today, hardware suppliers dominate the on-premises block storage market. Software-defined block storage has not made noticeable inroads yet into SAN arrays or hyperconverged systems.

Proprietary software-defined block storage is in better shape than the open source alternative. Ceph-based companies have made less impact than newcomers such as Datera, Commvault-Hedvig and StorOne.

Ceph is the intended data storage equivalent of Linux for servers but the open source technology lags behind better-established proprietary competitors. For wider scale adoption, Ceph will need to raise its performance game.