This content is part of the Essential Guide: A look back at the 2014 data storage market
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Five stories that topped the virtual data storage news in 2014

We take a look back at the most-read content on SearchVirtualStorage during 2014 to see what trends are shaping the industry.

Hyper-converged and software-defined storage continued to make headlines in the virtual data storage world in 2014, but this year the technologies made significant strides toward becoming mainstream.

Established vendors now join early players including Nutanix and SimpliVity in the hyper-converged market. Much of the activity from array vendors was spawned by VMware's release of EVO: RAIL, which allows partners to package their storage with VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) software.

Meanwhile, other array vendors pushed forward their software-defined storage strategies with upgrades from vendors such as Gridstore, Hitachi Data Systems and DataCore, among others.

To see what products made the biggest splash over the past year, we took a look at the most-read stories on SearchVirtualStorage in 2014.

5. Nutanix adds hyper-converged flash appliance

Nutanix made news by combining two of the current hottest trends in storage -- all-flash arrays and hyper-converged storage. The all-flash option gives Nutanix hope of holding off larger vendors entering the hyper-converged market through VMware's EVO: RAIL program, which doesn't yet provide an all-flash option.

4. Hitachi adds new operating system, array to its Virtual Storage Platform

Hitachi Data Systems in April rolled out a new version of its flagship Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) series, along with the new Storage Virtualization Operating System that allows for active-active clustering without a separate appliance. VSP competes directly with other high-end storage products such as EMC VMAX and IBM DS8000. The technology is also used in Hewlett-Packard XP7 arrays through an OEM deal with HP.

3. Nimboxx joins the hyper-converged storage club

Who says the hyper-converged bandwagon is filled up? In July startup Nimboxx released the Atomic Unit platform. The hyper-converged storage comes packaged with Nimboxx's MeshOS operating system, which is unique because it allows administrators to back up virtual machines to the cloud. Nimboxx is also unusual because it uses Linux-based KVM as its core hypervisor instead of VMware.

2. Beta testers provide feedback on VSAN management, installation

At a VMworld 2014 user panel, early users of VMware VSAN software provided feedback -- and the reactions were mixed. At that point, users were primarily building their own VSAN environments, rather than using VMware's prepackaged Ready Node hardware, which led them to run into some issues with hardware compatibility. But on the plus side, they agreed the bumps in the road during deployment were worth it for VSAN's management capabilities, especially for businesses with small IT teams.

1. EVO: RAIL turns VMware VSAN into a franchise

VMware launched EVO: RAIL at VMworld 2014, and a large roster of vendors have signed on to become EVO: RAIL partners. The platform sets guidelines for storage vendors to sell the VSAN software on their own hardware as a way for customers to quickly install the hyper-converged storage. Dell, EMC, HP, HDS and NetApp are among the vendors who have said they will sell EVO: RAIL systems.

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