IDC Brings Clarity to Software-Based/Software-Defined Storage Markets

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 15, 2013 – International Data Corporation (IDC) has published a new report, IDC's Worldwide Software-Based (Software-Defined) Storage Taxonomy, 2013 (IDC #240500), that identifies and defines the emerging software-based/software-defined storage (SBS/SDS) market. Software-based storage is a core component of the software-defined datacenter stack — a set of software components that seek to virtualize and federate hardware resources such as storage, compute, and network across the datacenter. Because traditional and emerging suppliers have conflicting views about what constitutes SBS, the market is currently experiencing constrained growth.

To help clarify the market and reduce confusion, IDC has put a stake in the ground by clearly defining software-based storage and developing the industry's first comprehensive taxonomy supporting this definition. IDC's approach defines software-based storage as any storage software stack that can be installed on commodity resources (x86 hardware, hypervisors, or cloud) and/or off-the-shelf computing hardware. Furthermore, in order to qualify, software-based storage stacks should offer a full suite of storage services and federation between the underlying persistent data placement resources to enable data mobility of its tenants between these resources.

"Software-based storage will slowly but surely become a dominant part of every datacenter, either as a component of a software-defined datacenter or simply as a means to store data more efficiently and cost-effectively," saidAshish Nadkarni, Research Director, Storage Systems. "With a consistent and coherent set of definitions, suppliers can collectively help buyers realize the vision for SBS platforms."

Software-based storage platforms offer a compelling proposition for both incumbent and upcoming storage suppliers. It is in the long-term interest of incumbents to seize this opportunity to shed their hardware-centric mind frame and join the ranks of emerging start-ups to enable this paradigm shift. With the proliferation of SBS platforms, the delineation between hardware, software, and cloud storage suppliers will blur and eventually disappear.

"Software-based platforms will continue to grow faster than any other market segment in the file- and object-based storage market. This growth will primarily be driven by a rich and diverse set of data-intensive use cases across multiple industries and geographies," Nadkarni added.

The IDC study, IDC's Worldwide Software-Based (Software-Defined) Storage Taxonomy, 2013 (IDC #240500), provides IDC's assessment of software-based storage platforms, an approach for storage solutions that leverages commodity components to create a highly scalable storage platform — all in software.

To purchase this study, please contact IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or

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