This content is part of the Essential Guide: A look back at the 2014 data storage market
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2014 cloud storage: Five stories that mattered

This year was a big one for cloud storage, with new product innovations and emerging trends. See what stories made the biggest impact on SearchCloudStorage.

Cloud storage was a hot topic in 2014, with new public, private and hybrid storage options flooding the market.

Below, we've assembled the five most-read 2014 cloud storage news stories. From vendor innovations and acquisitions to shifting trends, you'll see what readers found most compelling throughout the year.

5. IBM uses GPFS, supercomputing to debut Elastic Storage

Utilizing the cognitive technology of the Watson supercomputer, IBM brought out its software-defined Elastic Storage one week after the launch of EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage. IBM's Elastic Storage determines where to move data by analyzing cloud data, patterns, storage characteristics and the network.

Using Watson for analytics, Elastic Storage manages diverse workloads on a local and global level. IBM plans to incorporate storlets, its object storage platform, into Elastic Storage in an attempt to improve flexibility and security while reducing costs.

4. Cloud storage gateways poised to fade away

Cloud gateways, also known as cloud controllers or on-ramps, underwent a transition in 2014. This was originally a market dominated by startups, but this past year, major vendors stepped up to the plate. By acquiring TwinStrata, EMC added a cloud tier to its VMAX enterprise storage system, and Microsoft provided greater integration of its StorSimple gateway with Azure public cloud.

Bridging local applications and cloud-based storage, cloud gateways provide a simpler way to migrate data to the cloud. Along with incorporating cloud gateways into existing systems, some vendors may decide to build this feature into their products from the start.

3. NetApp adds Cloud Ontap, Riverbed backup

With Cloud Ontap, NetApp added a software-only iteration of Data Ontap. The launch coincided with NetApp's acquisition of Riverbed Technology’s SteelStore product line, an approximately $80 million transaction.

Along with supporting NFS, iSCSI and SMB, Cloud Ontap allows the enterprise to maintain better control over data while utilizing the Amazon public cloud. Billing options include pay-as-you-go and six-month subscriptions, and the product can be purchased through Amazon Web Services or NetApp directly. According to NetApp's executive vice president of product operations, George Kurian, the goal is to create a consistent method for moving data between on-premises and hybrid cloud storage.

2. EMC grows cloud lineup with a shopping spree

Turning its focus to the hybrid cloud, EMC acquired Cloudscaling, Maginatics and Spanning. These acquisitions brought in a private cloud builder, cloud filer and cloud-to-cloud backup.

Along with its acquisitions, EMC also launched bundles under the EMC Federation Software-Defined Data Center Edition banner to help hybrid storage clouds. These bundles include EMC’s ViPR software-defined storage, the vendor’s hardware platforms and services to help users determine whether public or private cloud is the way to go.

1. Online file-sharing apps look for security sweet spot

Online file sharing gained popularity among enterprise users because it was easy, but it won’t win acceptance from IT unless it becomes secure. The struggle between ease of use and security continued in 2014 as sync-and-share vendors searched for the right balance.

Box and Dropbox represent vendors at opposite ends of the spectrum. Dropbox began as a consumer product that gained a foothold as employees deployed it for work, but IT administrators consider Box more secure because it was designed for the enterprise. But those are hardly the only options. There is a myriad of file-sharing products available now, and many storage and data protection vendors have built the feature into their products.

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