Storage Soup

Jun 13 2014   3:39PM GMT

Gartner report places IBM, Pure Storage atop 2013 all-flash array market

Carol Sliwa Carol Sliwa Profile: Carol Sliwa

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Flash Array
Solid-state storage
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Fueled by triple-digit percentage growth in revenue, IBM and Pure Storage were the market leaders for solid-state arrays (SSA) in 2013, according to a report released this week by Gartner Inc.

Revenue from IBM’s FlashSystem product line increased 278% year-over-year from $43.4 million in 2012 to $164.4 million  in 2013. IBM commanded about a quarter of the all-flash array market, as its share grew from 18.4% to 24.6%. The FlashSystem platform came from IBM’s 2012 of Texas Memory System.

Pure Storage’s revenue spiked  642%, from $15.4 million to $114.1 million, and its market share surged from 6.5% to 17.1% in 2013.

Pure Storage has broad applicability predicated on its data reduction abilities and fresh marketing approach that has resonated well with customers,”  Joseph Unsworth, a research vice president for NAND flash and solid-state drive (SSD) technology at Gartner, wrote in an e-mail.

Unsworth wrote the “Market Share Analysis: SSDs and Solid-State Arrays, Worldwide, 2013 report with the revenue figures.

Violin Memory dropped from first in 2012 to third last year. Violin’s revenue increased by 22.6%, from $72.1 million to $88.3 million, but the company’s market share fell from 30.5% to 13.2% in 2013, according to Gartner.

Unsworth noted in the report that the U.S. government shutdown and missed sales targets hurt Violin after its initial public offering in September 2013. He wrote the company has top hardware but suffered from less than optimal data management software. Violin is working on its software strategy, trimming operating costs, refocusing on core customers and geographies and returning to the channel with a fresh management team in place, Unsworth wrote in the report.

Gartner changed the way it reports revenue for solid-state arrays with the release of the 2013 market analysis. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company now includes only the revenue from SSA products with a dedicated model and name that cannot be configured with hard-disk drives. By contrast, in 2012, Gartner also included general-purpose disk storage arrays that were configured only with SSDs, such as Hitachi HUS VM, Dell Compellent, EMC VMAX, IBM DS8000, HP 7000 series, NetApp FAS and others.

Those general-purpose storage arrays configured solely with SSDs accounted for $128 million in sales in 2012 and an estimated $170 million in 2013, but Gartner has now stripped that revenue out of its solid-state array market calculations.

Under Gartner’s revised SSA market calculation, EMC is now able to count revenue from only its XtremIO and VNX-F arrays, which were released last November. Despite the short time frame, the EMC all-flash systems placed fourth for the year, with $73.9 million in revenue, and EMC held 11.1% of the market.

In fifth place, NetApp all-flash revenue grew 126.5% for its EF540 all-flash array to $71 million. Nimbus Data Systems also more than doubled its revenue, from $21.6 million to $43.4 million, and placed sixth for the year, according to Gartner.

Filling out the top 10 were Kaminario ($22.5 million), Cisco ($21.4 million), SolidFire ($20.4 million) and Hewlett-Packard ($8.8 million). The total market grew 182% from 2012 to 2013, from $236.5 million to $667.3 million, using Gartner’s revised SSA reporting metrics.

According to the Gartner report, end users purchased 5,281 solid-state array units in 2013 at an average selling price of $126,360, or $9.70 per GB. The most popular capacity range was 10 TB to 19.99 TB, with a total of 2,126 units shipping at an average selling price of $118,647, or $11.59 per GB.

Runners-up were solid-state arrays in the range of 20 TB to 49.99 TB. A total of 1,629 units shipped at an average selling price of $180,699, or $8.82 per GB. Just 171 solid-state arrays of greater than 50 TB shipped last year, at an average selling price of $223,169, or $4.36 per GB. But, that could change this year now that most SSA vendors are making available arrays at higher capacities.

The Gartner analysis also included SSD revenue. Samsung, the largest supplier of NAND flash chips, maintained its overall lead in SSD sales with $3.1 billion in revenue, with the majority of its revenue from the PC SSD segment. Intel ($1.4 billion) held onto the No. 2 overall spot. SanDisk ($1.3 billion) jumped from fifth place in 2012 to third place, and Micron ($0.8 billion) improved from eighth to four. Toshiba ($0.6 billion) fell from third to fifth.

In the enterprise segment, which combined enterprise server and enterprise storage SSDs, Intel was No. 1 with 18.5% market share. Samsung (14.6%) jumped from third to second place, Western Digital (at 10.6%, with sales mostly from high-end storage through its partnership with Intel) moved from fifth to third, SanDisk (8.5%) leapt from eighth to fourth and Fusion-io (7.7%) fell from No. 2 to No. 5.

The Gartner report showed that total sales of enterprise SSDs grew from $3 billion in 2012 to $4.4 billion in 2013. Unsworth cited the main drivers in the enterprise SSD space as hyperscale customers purchasing low-cost SATA SSDs in huge volumes and storage manufacturers buying higher-quality SAS SSDs. He said hyperscale users and server manufacturers were prominent in sales of high-performance PCIe SSDs, but lower-cost PCIe SSDs “tempered revenue.”

Breaking down enterprise SSD sales, Intel was the leading producer of SATA SSDs followed by Samsung, Smart Storage, OCZ and SanDisk in 2013. Western Digital was No. 1 in the SAS-based SSD market, followed by SanDisk, Seagate, Toshiba and Hitachi. Fusion-io continued its dominance in PCIe SSDs, with Google, NetApp, LSI and Western Digital behind. Google, NetApp and Hitachi use their SSDs only within their own data centers or products, Gartner noted.

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