The software-defined storage (SDS) market is suffering "constrained growth" because suppliers are confused about what it actually means, according to IDC.
The analyst has created its SDS taxonomy in the hope of setting the record straight and boosting the market, which it claims will be the fastest-growing segment in the file and object-based storage arena.
IDC describes SDS as "any storage software stack that can be installed on commodity resources [such as] x86 hardware, hypervisors, or cloud, and/or off-the-shelf computing hardware," adding that SDS stacks should offer a full suite of storage services.
The firm's research director for storage systems Ashish Nadkarni said that with a clearer definition, the SDS market could boom.
"Because traditional and emerging suppliers have conflicting views about what constitutes [SDS], the market is currently experiencing constrained growth; [but] with a consistent and coherent set of definitions, suppliers can collectively help buyers realise the vision for [SDS] platforms," he explained.
"Software-based storage will slowly but surely become a dominant part of every datacentre, either as a component of a software-defined datacentre or simply as a means to store data more efficiently and cost effectively."
Nadkarni added that the technology offers a good opportunity for both emerging and incumbent suppliers and claimed investment in the SDS products could be in their interests.
He added: "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 [SDS] platforms, the delineation between hardware, software, and cloud storage suppliers will blur and eventually disappear."
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