Fibre Channel (FC) took back the port count lead over Ethernet in external storage systems in 2015, after Ethernet had gone ahead in 2014, according to Dell’Oro Group’s latest numbers.
Chris DePuy, a vice president at Dell’Oro, noted that his market research showed FC ports gained share over Ethernet despite declining in overall ports shipped. The Dell’Oro forecast projects that FC ports shipped on external storage systems will grow 3.7% this year, while the number of Ethernet ports on external storage systems will decline by close to 1%.
“Fibre Channel’s going to take share,” DePuy said, “but it’s a very modest growth market in terms of ports attached to external storage systems.”
Here are the Dell’Oro’s figures for the past three years along with projected 2016 totals:
Note: The table does not include SAS or InfiniBand ports. 2016 numbers are projected.
DePuy attributed the FC share growth to enterprises moving to higher bandwidth 16 Gbps FC and adopting all-flash or hybrid arrays, which combine solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs).
“For companies that have been using Fibre Channel historically, they’re very likely to continue to use Fibre Channel,” DePuy said. He said it would cost more if they switched to something else to upgrade their network.
Dell’Oro’s 2016 projections show the total number of networked ports on external storage systems will grow 1.5% this year, after at least three consecutive years of decline. But, DePuy said he expects the reversal to be temporary. He pointed out that the 2016 projected total of 3.683 million networked ports on external storage systems is still lower than the 3.949 million ports in 2013. His projected numbers show both FC and Ethernet with fewer ports in 2016 than in 2013.
“The real trend is away from networked storage,” DePuy said.
DePuy cited the use of servers with internal storage, including hyper-converged infrastructure, and direct-attached storage (DAS) as areas of growth. He defines DAS as the storage enclosure, or JBOD device, attached to a server.
“It has a lot to do with what’s going on with cloud service providers. They are purchasing a very different architecture than enterprises historically have used,” he said. “They use software-defined storage on top of standardized servers. And that is very similar to the hyper-converged products that branded vendors are selling now to enterprises.”
Here are DePuy’s rounded estimates for the number of external storage units:
Source: Dell’Oro Group
“We’re seeing a shift towards direct-attached and away from networked – in other words, the kind that use Fibre Channel and Ethernet,” DePuy said.
He noted that the external storage unit statistics specifically exclude servers with internal storage and hyper-converged infrastructure – an area for which Dell’Oro has not publicly released data.
DePuy said the number of adapter cards or built-in Ethernet in servers significantly outstrips the total of all ports on external devices. Ethernet ports outnumber FC ports by 2.5 to 1 when DePuy considers networked ports associated with internal storage systems and server ports associated with directed-attached external storage units.
Despite the growth challenges for networked external storage, vendors have been able to maintain their revenue roughly flat over the past few years through the introduction of products such as software-defined storage, hybrid cloud and hyper-converged systems, DePuy said.
“The big picture here is that enterprises looking at storage have an awful lot of choices that they have to make,” DePuy said. “And it’s getting more complex, not less complex, than it has been in the recent past.”
Nutanix’s amended S-1 filing includes results from the last quarters that weren’t included in its original filing in December. The good news is, revenue climbed significantly over those six months. The bad news is, so did losses.
For the quarter that ended Jan. 31, Nutanix reported $102.7 million in revenue compared to $56.8 million the previous year. That was Nutanix’s best revenue quarter ever, but it lost $33.2 million for the quarter compared to $28.3 million the previous year.
Nutanix is on track to rack up more revenue and more losses than its last fiscal year, which ended July 31, 2015. The vendor has $190.4 million in revenue and a loss of $71.8 million for the first two quarters of this fiscal year compared to in $241.2 million revenue and a loss of $126.1 million of for the entire last fiscal year.
The new filing also shows Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey forfeited $17.5 million worth of restricted stock in March. Those shares go into the equity pool for employees and other investors to split without diluting the number of total shares.
Investors expected Nutanix to complete its IPO by now, but the IPO market has cooled and no technology company has gone public in 2016. The new filing shows Nutanix is still a candidate to become the first.
Still months away from closing its $67 billion acquisition of EMC, Dell today said it would immediately start reselling several EMC federation converged products and updated others it already sells.
Dell revealed the deals as part of a “doubling-down” on hyper-convergence and a push into selling EMC’s VCE products. And yes, Dell also moved forward with its Nutanix OEM deal by upgrading its XC Series of hyper-converged products using Nutanix software.
Dell XC Series appliances will now use the latest Intel “Broadwell” processors, which are Xeon E5-2600 v4 chips. The XC Series is also now certified for SAP NetWeaver. Travis Vigil, Dell executive director for product management for Dell storage, said Dell will offer XC Series appliances with Nutanix Acropolis, VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.
Acropolis competes with the VMware hypervisors that will become part of the Dell family when the EMC deal closes. Nutanix also competes with VMware’s Virtual SAN (VSAN) hyper-converged software. Still, Vigil said Dell will continue with both platforms.
“We are 100 percent committed to our XC Series,” he said. “We have had tremendous success with that product.”
Vigil said Dell has hundreds of XC customers since its Nutanix OEM deal started in 2014.
Dell has added upgraded its VMware VSAN Ready Nodes that compete with Nutanix appliances. Dell Ready Nodes now include an all-flash option using Dell PowerEdge R730xe servers, as well as Broadwell chips and factory-installed VSAN.
Vigil said Dell will continue to sell its current EVO:RAIL hyper-converged systems, but there will be no upgrades because VMware is phasing out its EVO:RAIL OEM program in favor of building more Ready Node partnerships. Dell and VMware will offer a transition program for EVO: RAIL customers who want to move off that platform to other VSAN products.
Dell will also resell VxRail Appliances and VxRack Systems from VCE, EMC’s converged infrastructure division. VxRail is a VSAN-based hyper-converged product that EMC launched in Februrary. VxRack Node and VxRack System 1000 Flex use EMC’s ScaleIO block-based storage software for hyper-converged infrastructure ranging from hundreds to thousands of nodes. Customers can also run VxRack on PowerEdge servers through the Dell Reference Architecture for EMC Converged Infrastructure.
Dell is also adding VSAN to the Dell Hybrid Cloud Platform for VMware reference architecture program. That reference architecture includes Dell Active System Manager, VMware vCenter, vRealize and VSAN for customers looking to build private and public clouds.
“We’re doubling down on providing the best portfolio for hyper-converged infrastructure,” Vigil said. “Dell identified hyper-converged infrastructure [as a growth market] early and will hopefully expand on our lead with this announcement.”
Gartner Research distinguished analyst Dave Russell said Dell was covering three bases with its converged platforms. “They have three camps – their EMC-based portfolio, their VMware-based portfolio and their Nutanix-based portfolio,” he said. “This is a case of, ‘If you have a preference, we want to satisfy that preference for you.’”
Red Hat Ceph Storage software is now officially tested, optimized and certified to run on SanDisk’s InfiniFlash storage system thanks to a strategic partnership between the two vendors.
The alliance – announced this week – is Red Hat’s first partnership involving an all-flash array. Ross Turk, director of storage product marketing at Red Hat, said running Ceph software-defined storage on performance-optimized hardware has been a hot topic of discussion at events and conferences.
Turk said via an email that he could foresee the combination of Ceph on a high-performance, low-latency all-flash array “broadening the use cases” for Ceph to workloads such as analytics, high-speed messaging and video streaming. The original sweet spots for Ceph tended to center on capacity-optimized workloads such as active archives and rich media as well as OpenStack block storage.
“The applications running on top of OpenStack can always take advantage of a higher performing storage foundation,” Turk said.
Turk said engineers tuned over 70 individual parameters in Red Hat Ceph Storage – the vendor’s supported distribution of open source Ceph software – for optimal IOPS, latency and bandwidth characteristics with SanDisk’s InfiniFlash. The vendors are currently working on reference architectures that document recommended configurations.
Although the Red Hat-SanDisk alliance is a joint engineering/development and go-to-market effort, customers purchase the products separately – either directly from SanDisk and Red Hat or through their respective channel partners, according to Turk.
Support operates similarly. Turk said customers get support for Red Hat Ceph Storage from Red Hat and support for InfiniFlash from SanDisk. But he added that Red Hat’s global support and services team is trained on InfiniFlash, and SanDisk’s support team is trained on Red Hat Ceph Storage.
“Each of us is prepared to refer customers when appropriate,” said Turk.
SanDisk had been contributing to the open source Ceph project for more than two and a half years, according to Gary Lyng, senior director of marketing and strategy of data center solutions at SanDisk. He noted that SanDisk and Red Hat already have active joint customers.
“We believe that, with Red Hat’s proven leadership with open source technologies, the adoption of Ceph as a mainstream platform in the enterprise and cloud is possible,” Lyng wrote in an email.
He said the SanDisk-Red Hat alliance underscores a number of key areas of momentum in the storage industry, including the adoption of flash for massive-capacity workloads, software-defined storage, scale-out platforms and flexible, information-centric infrastructures.
Lyng said, although this week’s announcement focused only on Red Hat Ceph Storage, “additional collaboration is natural” given their tight relationship. Turk said the vendors are exploring potential uses for SanDisk technologies and Red Hat Gluster Storage, his company’s supported distribution of the open source Gluster distributed file system.
Red Hat’s partnerships also extend to manufacturers of servers, processors, networking gear, hard disks, flash drives and controllers. Vendors include Fujitsu, Intel, Mellanox and Super Micro. Red Hat has worked with Intel to optimize Ceph on flash, according to Turk.
Lyng said SanDisk has been formally building out a technology partner ecosystem for its data center portfolio since last fall. Vendors with which SanDisk has collaborated include IBM, Nexenta and Tegile. Western Digital acquired SanDisk last October for $19 billion.
ScaleIO is block storage that can run on commodity hardware, although EMC began packaging it on hardware nodes in late 2015. It is designed to add enterprise storage features to direct attached storage, allowing for easy upgrades. The software has multi-tenant support for building cloud storage.
David Noy, EMC’s VP of product management for emerging technologies. said ScaleIO is gaining traction with three kinds of customers: service providers building out public clouds to compete with Amazon, large enterprises building private clouds with Amazon-like features and large financial services firms looking to build block storage systems on commodity hardware.
“The appeal of ScaleIO is the ability to plop in a commodity server with some drives to add capacity to your block storage,” Noy said.
Features added in ScaleIO 2 are designed to take advantage of the hardware nodes that EMC sells it on, as well as fit the types of customers using it the most.
They include security enhancements such as IPv6 support, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connections between components and the ability to integrate it with Active Directory and LDAP. It also added in-flight checksum read flash capabilities, phone-home support and a maintenance mode that mirrors I/O coming in during maintenance, copies that I/O to another temporary location and moves the data back when the node returns online.
EMC also expanded ScaleIO support for next-generation applications such as containers, CoreOS and OpenStack.
For companies who don’t want ScaleIO shipped on a hardware node, it’s also available on a trial basis as a free download.
NetApp today rolled out an upgraded version of its SANtricity software for its E and EF Series of high performance arrays, with the focus on making Splunk and other data analytics applications run faster.
NetApp acquired the E Series platform from LSI in 2011, and added the EF all-flash version in 2013. The latest SANtricity release is designed to accelerate performance for high IOPS and low latency applications.
“E-Series is our main product line for these third-platform applications,” said Lee Caswell, NetApp vice president of solution and services marketing. “It gives you consistently low-latency response times.”
NetApp claims the latest version of SANtricity can:
· Increase Splunk search performance by 69% versus commodity servers with internal disks
· Drive 500% better Hadoop performance during data rebuild with Dynamic Disk Pools versus commodity servers with RAID
· Reconstruct a 400GB solid-state drive in 15 minutes for NoSQL database with commodity servers and direct attached storage
· Encrypt data at rest with less than one percent performance impact vs. the 70% impact from commodity servers with internal disk drives
· Build one architecture for hot, warm, cold and frozen tiers instead of different storage architectures for each tier.
NetApp is also partnering with Arrow on pre-configured E Series bundles for enterprise Splunk.
While SANtricity isn’t for flash-only storage, the EF Series seems the better fit when talking about high IOPS, low latency workloads. This release comes in the wake of two new flash systems from competitors that also target analytics – EMC’s DSSD D5 and Pure Storage’s FlashBlade.
“Flash enables a new level of performance for enterprise storage for big data applications,” Caswell said.
Factory revenue for backup appliances soared to $1.05 billion in the fourth quarter and $3.35 billion for 2015 – up 2.5% over 2014 – according to statistics released last week by International Data Corp. (IDC).
IDC Research Manager Liz Conner said the fourth-quarter figure marked only the second time that revenue from what IDC calls the Purpose-Built Backup Appliances (PBBA) market has hit $1 billion for a quarter. The $1.05 billion represented a 4.1% increase over fourth-quarter revenue for 2014.
Conner said via a prepared statement that backup appliance vendors have been adapting to industry trends by “putting greater emphasis on backup and deduplication software, meeting recovery objectives, [offering] the ability to tier to the cloud” and improving ease of use.
Worldwide PBBA capacity grew to 1,160 petabytes (PB) in the fourth quarter, a spike of 25.6% compared to the same period in 2014, according to IDC. Annual capacity rose to 3.3 exabytes, a 23.1% increase over 2014.
EMC continued to dominate the backup appliance market, generating more than one-third of its total annual revenue in the fourth quarter. Its fourth-quarter revenue of $707.9 million represented 67.7% market share and 10.6% growth over Q4 in 2014. For 2015, EMC’s revenue exceeded $2 billion, as the company captured 61.4% market share.
Symantec was a distant second with $479 million in annual revenue and 14.3% market share in 2015. Symantec closed out the year with $125.1 million in fourth-quarter revenue – an 8.1% increase over the same quarter in 2014. In January, Symantec completed the sale of its Veritas division, which includes the NetBackup and Backup Exec products, to The Carlyle Group.
Rounding out the top five in annual revenue were IBM ($165.7 million), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE, with $150.3 million) and Barracuda ($88.1 million). IBM’s revenue was down 19.5% compared to 2014, but HPE (11.7%) and Barracuda (32.6%) saw substantial growth.
Behind EMC and Symantec in the fourth quarter of 2015 were IBM ($41.6 million), HPE ($40.7 million) and Dell ($23.6 million). Dell’s revenue grew 16.5% in Q4 2015 versus Q4 2014.
For its PBBA market sizing, IDC includes products that integrate the data movement engine (backup application) with the appliance as well as products that serve only as a target for incoming backup application data.
Commvault Systems Inc. this month rolled out the latest version of its backup and data management portfolio to add support for Hadoop, Greenplum and IBM’s General Parallel File System (GPFS).
It also extended support for its Commvault IntelliSnap product to include NEC and Nutanix Acropolis.
The company’s portfolio is comprised of Commvault Software for data protection, recovery and archiving, and the Commvault Data Platform, formerly known as Simpana. The Data Platform is an open architecture that supports APIs throughout the stack and focuses on making copies of data readily accessible in their native format for third-party applications. It allows customers to access native copies of data without having to wait for a restore from a backup repository.
Chris Van Wagoner, Commvault’s chief strategy officer, said customers can use Commvault Software to manage big data configurations. It can also recover data across the whole system or across selected nodes, components or data sets.
“The architecture of GreenPlum, Hadoop and GPFS are node-based,” he said. “They are distributed rather than a vertical stack. Our platform is more for traditional data centers. So we had to do some work on our architecture. We had to make changes to our platform to mirror the multi-node architecture.”
The company also extended API support for Amazon S3, REST and NFS interfaces. The Commvault Data Platform also now offers customers a scale-out storage option that can run on any commodity hardware to support petabyte scale environments.
“We introduced the ability to provide search and index support for data without having to move the data,” Van Wagoner said. “If some uses Salesforce.com, we can go out through connectors and index data in the Salesforce application without dragging the data back to our platform. We can index and search in place without having to move it.”
Commvault also can protect data inside VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) and Nutanix Acropolis hypervisors, and protect workloads as the move from hypervisors to the Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS public cloud.
“We can pick up VMware workloads and restore it into the Amazon clouds,” Van Wagoner said. “We give customers the true promise of portability and the ability to move data between cloud providers and between private and public clouds. We now also support Nutanix and its hypervisor.”
Commvault snapped a string of four quarters of year-over-year revenue declines when it reported of $155.7 million last quarter, up two percent from the previous year, and its software revenue of $71.4 million increased 24% from the previous year. While Commvault continued to make money during its sales declines, its $13.2 million income last quarter was its highest take in a year.
Violin Memory is trying to push its all-flash arrays into the financial services market through a partnership with U.K. software vendor Stream Financial.
The vendors have combined to launch what they call a data appliance portal. The product, FlashSync, combines Violin’s Flash Storage Platform (FSP) arrays with servers and Stream’s Data Fusion federated query software. The target market is investment banks and other financial services firms that have to crunch billions of rows of data from various database sources. Violin and Stream Financial claim FlashSync is more efficient and cost-effective than pouring all of the data into a massive warehouse or doing everything in-memory where data is not persistent.
FlashSync has four configurations: Micro (24 CPUs, 7 TB capacity, 250 billion rows of data), Small (36 CPUs, 11 TB, 500 billion), Medium( 72 CPUs, 22 TB, 750 billion rows) and Large (144 CPUs, 44 TB, 1.5 trillion rows).
The systems will allow customers to access data at source and write to high-performance flash memory in a persistent manner. Data Fusion allows queries across various sources as if they were one system. The idea is to perform faster queries of data that helps make business decisions.
Carlo Wolf, Violin’s vice president of the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, said the partnership came about after a bank tested Data Fusion and liked its performance but needed it to scale to billions of rows of data. “You just can’t do that with traditional disk arrays,” Wolf said.
FlashSync will be sold by Violin channel partners, with the array vendor providing support for the storage and Stream Financial tackling software support issues.
Wolf said a large U.K. financial services firm has done a trial with FlashSync, and the product will initially roll out in the U.K. He said he expects FlashSync to eventually hit the U.S. market but no U.S. channel partners have signed on yet.
Violin has been struggling financially and failed in an attempt to find a buyer for the company. CEO Kevin DeNuccio said Violin’s strategy will be to find partners to help bring products to market.
Despite slipping in the fourth quarter, overall worldwide storage revenue increased 2.2% in 2015.
External (networked) storage declined 2.3% for the year, according to International Data Corporation’s worldwide quarterly enterprise storage systems tracker. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) was the only major vendor with increases in the fourth quarter and 2015 overall. HPE finished the year second behind EMC in overall storage systems revenue and third behind EMC and NetApp in external storage.
Total 2015 revenue of $37.16 billion was up from $36.36 billion in 2014. EMC led the way with $7.13 billion for 19.2% market share, but EMC’s revenue fell 5.9% from 2014 and its market share slipped from 20.8%. HPE’s revenue of $5.77 billion increased 12.6% from 2014 and its share rose from 14.1% to 15.5%. Dell, IBM and NetApp completed the top five. IBM took the biggest hit with a 23.2% decline, partially because of the sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo.
Revenue from external storage – SAN and NAS — dropped 2.4% for the year to $24.08 billion in 2015. All of EMC’s systems revenue comes from external storage, and it had 29.6% market share – down from 30.7% in 2014. NetApp is also external storage-only, and its market share slipped from 12.7% to 11.1% after a revenue drop from $3.13 billion to $2.68 billion.
NetApp’s 14.3% decline was the biggest fall of all vendors for external storage. HPE improved 2.7% to $2.41 billion in external storage revenue, and its market share improved from 9.5% to 10%. IBM and Hitachi Data Systems completed the top five. External storage revenue from all other vendors rose eight percent and made up 31.5% of the market.
In the fourth quarter, total enterprise storage systems garnered $10.38 billion in revenues compared to the $10.62 billion in the same quarter of 2014, a 2.2% percent decline. The total worldwide external enterprise storage systems market generated $7 billion compared to $7.12 billion the previous year.
Revenue from flash inside storage arrays grew, however. The all-flash array market generated $955.4 million, a 71.9% increase from the previous year. Hybrid flash array revenue came to $2.9 billion, which is 28% of the overall market.
EMC had $2.23 billion revenue in the fourth quarter, giving it 21.5% share of the overall market and 31.7% of the external market. EMC’s revenue fell 5.2% from the previous year.
HPE, Dell, IBM and NetApp followed in overall storage. In external storage, IBM, HPE, NetApp and HDS rounded out the top five behind EMC in external storage. HPE revenue grew 7.9% overall and 2.6% in external storage in the fourth quarter.
NetApp took the biggest hit. Its revenue dropped 14.8% in the quarter and its external storage market share fell from 10.6% to 9.3%. External storage revenue from all other vendors grew 6.5% and their combined 30.1% share would rank second behind EMC.