Category Archives: Storage Market Share

Oracle Bested the Best in Quality

I have been an avid reader of SearchStorage Storage magazine for many years now and have been downloading their free PDF copy every month. Quietly snugged at the end of January 2012’s issue, there it was, the Storage magazine 6th annual Quality Awards for NAS.

I was pleasantly surprised with the results because in the previous annual awards, it would dominated by NetApp and EMC but this time around, a dark horse has emerged. It is Oracle who took top honours in both the Enterprise and the Mid-range categories.

The awards are the result of Storage Magazine’s survey and below is an excerpt about the survey:

In both categories covering the Enterprise and the Mid-Range, the overall ratings are shown below:

Surprised? You bet because I was.

The survey does not focus on speeds and feeds or comparing scalability or performance. Rather, the survey focuses on the qualitative aspects of the NAS products. There were many storage vendors who were part of the participation lists but many did not qualify to be make a dent of what the top 6 did. Here’s a list of the vendors surveyed:

The qualitative aspects of the survey focused on 5 main areas:

  • Sales force competency
  • Initial Quality
  • Product Features
  • Product Reliability
  • Technical Support

In each of the 5 main areas, customers were asked a series of questions. Here is a breakdown of those questions of each area.

Sales Force Competency

  1. Are the sales force knowledgeable about their products and their customer’s industries?
  2. How flexible are their sales effort?
  3. How good are they keeping the customer’s interest levels up?

Initial Product Quality

  1. Does the product need little or no vendor intervention?
  2. Ease of installation and ease of use
  3. Good value for money
  4. Reasonable requirement from Professional Service or needing little Professional Service
  5. Installation without defects
  6. Getting it right the first time

Product Features

  1. Storage management features
  2. Mirroring features
  3. Capacity scaling features
  4. Interoperable with other vendor’s products
  5. Remote replication features
  6. Snapshotting features

Product Reliability

  1. Vendor provide comprehensive upgrading procedures
  2. Ability to meet Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  3. Experiences very little downtime
  4. Patches applied non-disruptively

Technical Support

  1. Taking ownership of the customer’s problem
  2. Timely problem resolution and technical advice
  3. Documentation
  4. Vendor supplies support contractually as specified
  5. Vendor’s 3rd party partners are knowledgeable
  6. Vendor provide adequate training

These are some of the intangibles that customers are looking for when they qualify the NAS solutions from vendors. And the surprising was Oracle just became something to be reckoned with, backed by the strong legacy of customer-centric focus of Sun and StorageTek. If this is truly happening in the US, then kudos to Oracle for maximizing the Sun-Storagetek enterprise genes to put their NAS products to be best-of-breed.

However, on the local front, it seems to me that Oracle isn’t doing much justice to the human potential they have inherited from Sun. A little bird has told me that they got rid of some good customer service people in Malaysia and Singapore just last month and more could be on the way in 2012. All this for the sake of meeting some silly key performance indices (KPIs) of being measured by tasks per day.

The Sun people that I know here in Malaysia and Singapore are gurus who has gone through the fire and thrived and there is no substitute for quality. Unfortunately, in Oracle, it’s all about numbers, whether it is sales or tasks per day.

Well, back to the survey. And of course, the final question would be, “Is the product good enough that you would buy it again?” And the results are …

Good for Oracle in the US but the results do not fully reflect what’s on the ground here in Malaysia, which is more likely dominated by NetApp, HP, EMC and IBM.

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Is Dell Fluid Enough?

Dell made a huge splash 2 weeks ago in London in their inaugural Dell Storage Forum. They dubbed their storage and management lineup as “Fluid Data Architecture” offering the ability for customers to quickly adapt and automate their business when it comes to storage networking and more importantly, data management.

In the London show, they showcased several key innovations and product development. Here’s a list of their jewels:

  • DR4000 – an inline, content optimized backup deduplication appliance (based on the acquired technology of Ocarina Networks)
  • Compellent Storage Center 6.0 – a major software release
  • Compellent key technology integration with VMware
  • Optimized object storage for Microsoft Sharepoint with the DX6000 Object Storage Platform – DX6000 is an OEM from Caringo
  • Broader support for Dell Force10, PowerConnect and their partner’s Brocade

The technology from Ocarina Networks is fantastic technology and I have always admired Ocarina. I have written about Ocarina in the past in my previous blog. But I was a bit perplexed why Dell chose to enter the secondary dedupe market with a backup dedupe appliance in the DR4000. They are already a latecomer into the secondary deduplication game and I thought HP was already late with their StoreOnce.

They could have used Ocarina’s technology to trailblaze the primary deduplication market. In my previous blog, I mentioned that primary deduplication hasn’t really taken off in a big way, and Dell with the technology from Ocarina could set the standard and establish themselves as the leader of the primary deduplication market space. I was disappointed that they didn’t, not just yet.

The Compellent Storage Center 6.0 release was a major release and it was, for better or for worse, coincided with the departure of Phil Soran, the founder and CEO of Compellent. Phil felt that he can let his baby go and Dell is certainly making the best of what they can do with Compellent as their flagship data storage product.

The major release included 64-bit support for greater performance and scalability and also include several key VMware technologies that other vendors already have. The technologies included:

  • VMware vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)
  • Storage Replication Adapter plug-in for VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)
  • VSphere 5 client plug-in
  • Integration of Enterprise Manager and VSphere

Other storage related releases (I am not going to talk about Force10 or their PowerConnect solutions here) included Dell offering 16Gbps FibreChannel switches from Brocade and also their DX6000 Object Storage Platform optimized for Microsoft Sharepoint.

I think it is fantastic that Dell is adapting and evolving into a business-oriented, enterprise solution provider and their acquisitions in the past 3 years – EqualLogic, Exanet, Ocarina Networks, Force10 and Compellent – proves that Dell aims to take market share in the storage networking and data management market. They have key initiatives with CommVault, Symantec, VMware and Microsoft as well. And Michael Dell is becoming quite a celebrity lately, giving Dell the boost it needs to battle in this market.

But the question is, “Is their Fluid Data Architecture” fluid enough?” If I were a customer, would I bite?

As a customer, I look for completeness in the total solution, and I cannot fault Dell for having most of the pieces in the solution stack. They have networking in their PowerConnect, Force10 and Brocade. They have SAN in both Compellent and EqualLogic but their unified storage story is still a bit lacking. That’s because we have not seen Dell’s NAS storage yet. Exanet was a scale-out NAS and we have seen little rah-rah about this product.

From a data management perspective, their data protection story gels well with the Commvault and Symantec partnership, but I feel that Dell sales and SEs (at least in Malaysia) spends too much time touting the Compellent Automated Storage Tiering. I have spoken to folks who have listened to Dell guys’ pitches and it’s too one-dimensional. It’s always about storage tiering and little else about other Compellent technology.

At this point of time, the story that Dell sells here in Malaysia is still disjointed, but they are getting better. And eventually, the fluidity (pun intended ;-)) of their Fluid Data Architecture will soon improve.

How will Dell fare in 2012? They had taken a beating in the past 2 IDC’s quarter storage market tracker, losing some percentage points in market share but I think Dell will continue to tinker to get it right.

2012 will be their watershed year.

IDC Worldwide Storage Software QView 3Q11

I did not miss this when the IDC report of worldwide storage software for Q3 2011 was released a couple of weeks ago. I was just too busy to work on it until just now.

The IDC QView report covers 7 functional areas of storage software:

  • Data protection and recovery software
  • Storage replication software
  • Storage infrastructure software
  • Storage management software
  • Device management software
  • Data archiving software
  • File system software

All areas are growing and Q3 grew 9.7% when compared with the figures of 3Q2010. In the overall software market, EMC holds the top position at 24.5% followed by Symantec (15.3%) and IBM (14.0%). Here’s a table to show the overall standings of the storage software vendors.

In fact, EMC leads in 3 areas of storage infrastructure management, storage management and device management. But the fastest growing area is data archiving software with a pace of 12.2% following by storage and device management of 11.3%.

HP is not in the table, but IDC reported that the biggest growth is coming from HP with a 38.2% growth, boosted by its acquisition of 3PAR. Watch out for HP in the coming quarters. Also worthy of note is the rate Symantec has been experiencing. Their was only 2.2% and IBM, at #3, is catching up fast. I wonder what’s happening in Symantec having seeing them losing their lofty heights in recent years.

The storage software market is a USD$3.5 billion market and it is the market that storage vendors are placing more importance. This market will grow.

Gartner 3Q2011 WW ECB Disk Storage Market

Just after IDC released their numbers of their worldwide Disk Storage System Tracker (Read my blog) 10 days ago, Gartner released their Worldwide External Controller Based (ECB) Disk Storage Market report for Q3 of 2011.

The storage market remains resilient (for now) and growing 10.4% in terms of revenue, despite the hard economic conditions. The table below shows the top 7 storage vendors and their relation to their Q2 numbers.

EMC remained at the top and gained a massive 3.6% jump in market share. Looks like they are firing all cylinders and chugging like an unstoppable steam train. IBM gained 0.1% in second place as its stable of DS8000, XIV and Storewize V7000 is taking shape. Even though IBM has been holding steadily, I still think that their present storage lineup is staggered and lacks that seamless upgrade path for their customers.

NetApp, which I always terms as the “little engine that could”, is slowing down. They were badly hit in the last quarter, delivering lower than expected revenue numbers according to the analysts. Their stock took a tumble too. As quoted by Gartner, “NetApp’s third-quarter results reflect an overdependence on a few large customers, limited geographic coverage in high-growth countries and increased competition from Dell, EMC, HP and IBM in the midrange modular ECB disk array market segment.

I wrote in my recent blog, that NetApp has to start evolving from a pure-play storage vendor into a total storage and data management solution vendor. The recent rumours of NetApp’s interests in Commvault and Quantum should make a lot of sense if NetApp decides to make that move. Come on, NetApp! What are you waiting for?

HP came back strong in this report. They are in 4th place with 10.4% market share and hot on NetApp’s heels. After many months of nonsensical madness – Leo Apotheker firing, trying to ditch the PC business, the killing of WebOS tablet, the very public Oracle-HP spat – things are beginning to settle a bit under their new CEO, Meg Whitman. In a recent HP Discover conference in Vienna, it was reported that the HP storage team is gung-ho of what they have in their arsenal right now. They called it “The 4 Jewels of HP Storage Crown” which includes 3PAR, Ibrix, StoreOnce and LeftHand. They also leap-frogged over HDS and Dell in the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant (See below).

Kudos to HP and team.

HDS seems to be doing well, and so is Dell. But the Gartner numbers tell a different story. HDS, lost market share and now shares 7.8% market share with Dell. Dell, despite its strong marketing on Compellent, could not make up its loss after breaking off with EMC.

Fujitsu and Oracle completes the line up.

My conclusion: HP and IBM are coming back; EMC is well and far ahead of everyone else; NetApp has to evolve; Dell still lacking in enterprise storage savviness despite having good technology; No comments about HDS. 

One-stop shop matters

Would you buy fruits from dedicated fruit seller or would you go to a hypermarket to get your fruits? It depends on your preference but it is more likely that you would go to a hypermarket to do your shopping. You might need some accompanying stuff while you are at the hypermarket. There will be ideas stirring in your mind that you might need this or that while planning your fruit shopping.

The “ideas stirring in your mind” is what concepts like hypermarkets do. They mess around with your thinking and they play with your psychological side because we are human beings. We are driven by desire and convenience.

In storage, this whole psychological game comes into play as well in the customer’s purchasing habits. If the customer is purchasing storage from one vendor, he/she might as well get the rest of the data management solutions from the same vendor. The vendors would pitch easy, cost-effective, seamless, proven and other well-received words to woo the customer. And the key ingredient is INTEGRATION.

All solutions these days are complex, and integration of getting all components to work together is not easy. I have been working on a private cloud data appliance for almost 2 months now, and it’s not as seamless or as easy as it seems. According to the whitepaper, everything was rosy and dandy but when it comes down to ground zero, even the vendors themselves had a hard time doing the integration. And this drives up costs, resources and time.

That is why EMC has become a behemoth in the storage industry, being an A-Z one-stop shop of everything of data storage and management to every one. That is why IBM and HP are able to leverage their server business and their other solutions and services portfolio to entice the customers to buy their products. That is why Oracle wants to worn the whole bloody application stack in their Exadata, to sell more Oracle database licenses. Pure-play storage vendors like NetApp and HDS, who prefer to work on partnership could be feeling the heat of late.

In the latest IDC quarter worldwide disk storage system tracker (that’s a mouthful), NetApp is the prominent one being mentioned as “losing ground“. Here’s a look at a table, which compares past quarters results.

It is difficult to quantify integration costs, because there are many intangible, and unseen costs and impacts. To pacify customer’s fears, and increase their confidence in the total data storage and management solutions, marketing initiatives such as whitepapers, reference architectures, webcasts, social media, social business networking, demos, proof-of-concepts (POCs) and many more are tools of the trade that could tip a customer towards a vendor’s solution.

I believe NetApp could begin to realize that. And rumours are swirling in the industry for NetApp to acquire strong solutions such as Commvault and Quantum. It makes sense. NetApp is in need of a strong data protection solution in which it has a say in the vision and direction of the software. NetApp needs a strong data deduplication solution in which Quantum has in its DXi series. Symantec could be a acquisition target as well as the security and data management giant’s stock has stagnated in the stock market.

NetApp itself could be an acquisition target as well, with IBM, Cisco and HP the possible suitors. NetApp’s solutions are a great solution set for IBM, who really needs to do something about their staggered storage portfolio. HP might have chewed a mouthful with 3PAR but HP has been bad news for the last 2 quarters, no thanks to its on-and-off fiasco of ditching it PC business and other crazy stunts of HP-versus-Oracle and their ex-CEO, Leo Apotheker. Cisco could bet on NetApp too. Both companies have strong relationship together, but Cisco is drying up. They are becoming a laggard in the networking industry and companies like Juniper are hitting back … hard!

All these jousting and shuffling are creating the consolidation of the storage industry. The top six players – EMC, NetApp, IBM, HP, HDS and Dell – owns more than 80% of the total storage market share in terms of revenue. As the data storage and management world becomes more complex, and the ubiquity of cloud computing demands absolute uptime with no room for errors, the one-stop shop makes sense. One throat to choke … as they say.

Magic on storage players

It’s that time of the year again where Gartner releases it Magic Quadrant for the block-access, external controller-based, mid-range and high-end modular disk arrays market. This particular is very important because it represents the mainstay of the overall storage industry, viewed from a more qualitative angle. Whereas the other charts and reports work with statistics and numbers, this is the chart that everyone in the industry flock to. Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) is the storage industry indicator of who’s are the leaders; who are the visionaries; who are the executive wizards and who are the laggards (also known as niche players).

So, this time around, who’s in the Leaders Quadrant?

The perennial players in the Leader’s Quadrant are EMC, IBM, NetApp, HP, Dell, and HDS. In my previous blog, I shared with you the IDC figures about market shares but the Gartner MQ shows are more subtle side, and one that perhaps carry more weight to organizations.

From the IDC numbers announced previously, we have seen Dell taking a beating. They have lost market share and similarly in this latest Gartner MQ, they have lost their significance of their influence as well. Everyone expected their Compellent solution to be robust and having EqualLogic, Ocarina and Exanet in its stable would strengthen their presence in the storage industry. Surprisingly, Dell lost on both IDC statistically charged market numbers and this Gartner MQ as well. Perhaps they were too hasty to dump EMC a few months ago?

Gartner also reported that HP has made significant leap in the Leader’s Quadrant. It has leapfrogged over HDS and IBM when comparing their position in Gartner’s MQ chart. This could be coming from their concerted effort to pitch their Converged Infrastructure, a vision that in my opinion, simplified computing. HP Malaysia shared with me their vision a few months ago, and I was impressed. What I was not very impressed then and even now, is that their storage solutions story is still staggered, lacking the gel. Perhaps it is work in progress for HP, the 3PAR, the IBRIX and the EVA. But one things for sure. They are slowly but surely getting the StoreOnce story right and that’s good news for customers. I did a review of HP StoreOnce technology a few months ago.

Perhaps it’s time for HP to ditch their VLS deduplication, which to me, confuses customers. By the way, HP VLS is an OEM from Sepaton. (Sepaton is “No tapes” spelled backwards)

Here’s a glimpse of last year’s Magic Quadrant.

 

In the Niche Quadrant, there are a few players making waves as well. 2 companies to watch out for are Huawei (they dropped Symantec 2 weeks ago) and Nexsan. Nexsan has been beefing up its marketing of late, and I often see them in mailing lists and ads on some websites I went to.

But the one to watch will be Huawei. This is a company with deep pockets, hiring the best in the storage industry and also has a very strong domestic market in China. In the next 2-3 years, Huawei could emerge as a strong contender to the big boys. So watch out!

Gartner Magic Quadrant is indeed weaving its magic and this time around the magic is good to HP.

NetApp to buy Commvault?

The rumour mill is going again that Commvault is an acquisition target, and this time, NetApp. The rumour is not new but someone Commvault has gotten too big in the past couple of years to be swallowed up. But this time, it could happen as NetApp is hungry, …. very hungry.

NetApp took a big hit a couple of weeks back, when it announced its Q3 numbers. Revenues fell short of analysts expectations and the share price took a big hit. While its big rival, EMC, has been gaining much momentum on all fronts, it appears that NetApp is getting overwhelmed by the one-stop-shop of EMC. EMC is everything to everyone who wants storage, data protection software, services, data management, scale-out, data security, big data, cloud storage and virtualization and much more. NetApp, has been very focused on what they do best, and that is storage. Everything evolves around their crown jewel, Data ONTAP and recently added Engenio to their stable of storage solutions.

NetApp does not mix the FAS storage with the Engenio and making sure that their story-telling gels but in the past few years, many other vendors are taking the “one-stack-fits-all” approach. Oracle have Exadata, where servers, storage, database and networking in all-in-one. Many others are doing the same, while NetApp prefers a more “loose-coupled” partnerships, such as their “Imagine Virtually Anything” concept partnership with VMware and Cisco, in the shape of FlexPod. FlexPod is a flexible infrastructure package comprising presized storage, networking and server components designed to ease the IT transformation journey–from virtualization all the way to cloud computing.

Commvault would be a great buy (going to be very expensive buy) for NetApp. Things fits perfectly if NetApp decides to abandon its overly protective shield and start becoming a “one-stop-shop” to its customers, starting with data protection. Commvault is already the market leader in the Enterprise Disk-based Backup and Recovery market, and well reflected in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant January 2011 report.

It’s amazing to see how Commvault got to become the leader in this space in just a few short years, and part of its unique approach is providing a common core engine called the Common Technology Engine (CTE). The singular core architecture allows different data management components – Backup, Replication, Archiving, Resource Management and Classification & Search – to share resource and more importantly detailed knowledge of true data management.

In the middle of this year, NetApp had an OEM deal with Commvault to resell their SnapProtect solution, which integrates with NetApp’s SnapMirror solution. The SnapProtect manages NetApp snapshots and SnapMirror replications and also enhances the solution as a tape-out for SnapMirror. Below shows how the Commvault SnapProtect fits into NetApp’s snapshots and SnapMirror data protection architecture.

Sources of NetApp’s C-Level said that NetApp is still very much focused on their ONTAP strategy and with their “loosely-coupled” partnerships with key partners like VMware, Cisco, F5 and Quantum. But at the back of NetApp’s mind, I believe, it is time to do something about it. This “focused” (also could be interpreted an overly cautious) approach is probably seeing the last leg of its phase as cloud computing is changing all that. The cost of integration of different, yet flexible components of storage, data protection and data management components, is prohibitive to cloud service providers and NetApp must take a bolder approach to win the hearts of these providers. Having a one-stop-shop isn’t so bad anymore; it is beginning to make sense and NetApp had better do something quick. Commvault is one of the best out there and NetApp shouldn’t lose that chance.

Note: While the rumours of NetApp and Commvault are swirling, there’s been rumours that Quantum could be another NetApp target. 

IDC EMEA External Disk Storage Systems 2Q11 trends

Europe is the worst hit region in this present economic crisis. We have seen countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland being some of the worst hit countries and Italy was just downgraded last week by S&P. Last week was also the release of the 2Q2011 External Disk Storage Systems figures from IDC and the poor economic sentiments are reflected in the IDC figures as well.

Overall, the factory revenue for Western Europe grew 6% compared to the year before, but declined 5% when compared to 1Q2011. As I was reading a summary of the report, 2 very interesting trends were clear.

  • The high-end market of above USD250,000 AND the lower-end market of less than USD50,000 increased while the mid-end market of between USD50,000-100,000 price range declined
  • Sentiments revealed that storage buyers are increasingly looking for platforms that are quick to deploy and easy to manage.

As older systems are refreshed, larger companies are definitely consolidating into larger, higher-end systems to support the consolidation of their businesses and operations. Fundamentals such as storage consolidation, centralized data protection, disaster recovery and server virtualization are likely to be the key initiatives by larger organization to cut operational costs and maximizing of storage economics. This has translated to the EMEA market spending more on the higher-end storage solutions from EMC, IBM, HDS and HP.

NetApp, which has been always very strong in the mid-end market, did well to increase their market share and factory revenue at IBM’s and HP’s expense because their sales were flattish. Dell, while transitioning from its partnership with EMC to its Dell Compellent boxes, was the worst hit.

The lower-end storage solution market, according to IDC figures, increased between 10-25% depending on the price ranges of USD5,000 to USD10,000 to USD15,000. This could mean a few things but the obvious call would be the economic situation of most Western European SMBs/SMEs. This could also mean that the mid-end market could be on the decline as many of the lower-end systems are good enough to do the job. One thing the economic crisis can teach us is to be very prudent with our spendings and I believe the Western European companies are taking the same path to control their costs and maximizing their investments.

The second trend was more interesting to me. The quote of “quick to deploy and easy to manage” is definitely pushing the market to react to more off-the-shelf and open components. From an HP stand point of their Converged Infrastructure, the x86 strategy for their storage solutions is making good sense, because I believe there will be lesser need for proprietary hardware from traditional storage vendors like EMC, NetApp and others (HP included). Likewise, having storage solutions such as VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) and storage appliance software that runs on the x86 platforms such as Nexenta and Gluster could spell out the next wave in the storage networking industry. To have things easy, specialized appliances which I have spoke much of lately, hits the requirement of “quick to deploy and easy to manage” right on the dot.

The overall fundamentals of the external disk storage systems market remain strong. Below is the present standings in the EMEA market as reported by IDC.

Gartner figures about the storage market – Half year report

After the IDC report a couple of weeks back, Gartner released their Worldwide External Controller-Based (ECB) Disk Storage Market report last week. The Gartner reports mirrors the IDC report, which confirms the situation in the storage market, and it’s good news!

Asia Pacific and Latin America are 2 regions which are experiencing tremendous growth, with 27.9% and 22.4% respectively. This means that the demand of storage networking and data management professionals is greater than ever. I have always maintained that it is important for professionals like us to enhance our technical and technology know-how to ride on the storage growth momentum.

So from the report, there are no surprises. Below is a table to summarizes the Gartner report.

As you can see, HP lost market share together with Dell, Fujitsu and Oracle. Oracle is focusing its energies on its Exadata platform (and it’s all about driving more database license sales), and hence their 7000-series is suffering. Despite Fujitsu partnership with NetApp and EMC, and also with its Eternus storage, lost ground as well.

Dell seems to be losing ground too, but that could be the after effects of divorcing EMC after picking up Compellent early this year. Dell should be able to bounce back as there are reports stating that Compellent is picking up a good pace for Dell. One of the reports is here.

The biggest loser of the last quarter is HP. Even though it has a 0.3% of a market drop, things does not seem so rosy as I have been observing their integration of 3PAR since the purchase late last year. No doubt they are firing all cylinders, but 3PAR does not seem to be helping HP to gain market share (yet). The mid-tier has to be addressed as well and having the old-timer EVA at the helm is beginning to show split ends. Good for the hairdresser; not good for HP. IBRIX and LeftHand complete most of HP storage line-up.

HDS is gaining ground as their storage story is beginning to gel quite well. Coupled with some great moves consolidating their services business and also their Deal Operations Center (DOC) in Kuala Lumpur, simplifies the customers doing business with them. Every company has its challenges but I am beginning to see quite a bit of traction from HDS in the local business scene.

IBM also increased market share with a 0.2% jump. Rather tepid overall but I was informed by an IBMer that their DS8000s and XIVs are doing great in the South East Asia Region. Kudos but again IBM still has to transform its mid-tier DS4000/5000 business, which IBM OEMs the storage backend from NetApp Engenio.

EMC and NetApp are the 2 juggernauts. EMC has been king of the hill for many quarters, and I have been always surprised how nimble EMC is, despite being an 800 pound gorilla. NetApp has proven its critics wrong. For many quarters it has been taking market share and that is reflected in the Gartner Half Year Report below:

There you have it folks. The Gartner WW ECB Disk Storage Report. Again, I just want to mention that this is a wonderful opportunity for us doing storage and data management solutions. The demand is there for experienced and skilled professionals but we have to be good, really good to compete with the rest.

EMC and NetApp gaining market share with the latest IDC figures

The IDC 2Q11 global disk storage systems report is out. The good news is data is still growing, and at a tremendous pace as well. Both revenue and capacity have raced ahead with double digit growth, with capacity growth reaching almost 50%.

And not surprisingly to me, EMC and NetApp have gained market share at the expense of HP, IBM and Dell. Here are a couple of statistics tables:

Both EMC and NetApp have recorded more than 25% revenue growth, taking 1st and joint-2nd place respectively. I have always been impressed by both companies.

For EMC, the 800lbs gorilla of the storage market, to be able to get a 26% revenue growth is a massive, massive endorsement of how well EMC execute. They are like a big oil tanker in the rough seas, with the ability to do a 90 degree turn at the blink of an eye. Kudos to Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger.

Netapp has always been my “little engine that could”. Their ability to take market share Q-on-Q, Yr-on-Yr is second to none and once again, they did not disappoint. Even with the change of the big man from Dan Warmenhoven to Tom Georgens did not manage a smudge in its armour. And with the purchase of LSI this year, NetApp will go from strength to strength, gaining market share at the other expense. I believe NetApp’s culture plays a big role in their ability and their success. The management has always been honest and frank and there’s a lot of respect of an individual’s ability to contribute. No wonder they are the #5 best company to work for in the US.

The big surprise for me here is Hitachi Data Systems, posting a 23.3% growth. That’s tremendous because HDS has never known to hit such high growth. Perhaps they have finally got the formula right. Their VSP and AMS range must be selling well but again, for HDS, it is a challenge running to 2 different cultural systems within their company. The Japanese team and the US team must be hitting synchronicity at last.

Dell, despite firing all cylinders with EqualLogic and Compellent, actually lost market share. Their partnership with EMC has come to an end and they have not converted their customers to the EqualLogic and Compellent boxes. The Compellent purchase is fairly new (Q1 of 2011) and this will take some time to sink in with their customer. Let’s see how they fare in the next IDC report.

In this table above, HP has always been king of the hill. Bundling their direct attached or internal storage with their servers, just like IBM, has given them an unfair advantage. But for the first time, EMC has outshipped HP, without the presence of DAS and internal storage (which EMC does not sell). Even with the purchase of 3PAR late last year, HP were not able to milk the best of what 3PAR can offer. And not to mention that HP also has LeftHand Networks which now renumbered as the P4000. On the other hand, this is a fantastic result to EMC.

Where’s IBM in all this? Rather anemic, sad to say, compared to EMC and NetApp. IBM’s figures were 1/2 of what EMC and NetApp are posting and this is not good. They don’t have the right weapons to compete. XIV is slowly taking over the mantel of DS8000 as their flagship storage, and their DS series putting up their usual numbers. But that’s not good enough because if you look at the IBM line up, their Shark is pretty much gone. XIV and Storwiz(e) are the only 2 storage platforms that IBM owns. Mind you, Storwiz(e) is not really a primary storage solution. It’s a compression engine. Both the DS-series and N-series actually belongs to LSI (which NetApp owns) and NetApp respectively. So, IBM lacks the IP for storage and in the long run, IBM must do something about it. They must either buy or innovate. They should have bought NetApp when they had the chance in 2002, but today NetApp is becoming an impossible meal to swallow.

We shall see how IBM turns out but if they continue to suffer from anemia, there’s going to be trouble down the road.

As for HP, what can I say? Their XP range is from HDS but with 3PAR in the picture, it looks like the marriage could be ending soon. EVA is an aging platform and they got to refresh it with stronger middle tier platforms. As for the low end of the range, MSA is also something unexciting and I secretly believe that LeftHand should have stepped up. But unfortunately, the HP sales have to be careful not to push MSA and LeftHand side-by-side, and not cannibalizing each other. HP definitely has a challenge in its hands and both 3PAR and LeftHand have been with them for more than 2 quarters. It’s time to execute because the IDC figures have already proved that they are slipping.

What next HP?