Who’s #1 in Flash Arrays?

Jay KramerA recent conversation with some fellow analysts revealed a puzzling set of claims.  EMC, at its EMC World conference (May 3-7) claimed to be the leader in flash array shipments.  The very next week, in the same Las Vegas hotel, IBM also claimed leadership in flash.

Who do you believe?

Well a friend of The SSD Guy, marketing consultant Jay Kramer of Network Storage Advisors Inc., tallied up all of the leadership claims he could find and provided this list:

  • EMC is counting XtremIO Arrays as units shipped and according to Gartner Group held the #1 market share position with a 31.1% share, which is over a ten percentage point share lead
  • IBM is counting capacity of PBs shipped with all of their flash storage solutions: The FlashSystem 840, 900, V840, V9000, DS8000, plus the XIV systems, Storwize V7000, IBM Flash DAS, and IBM PCIe Adapters
  • NetApp is the leader if you count total flash systems shipped (NetApp-branded plus privately-branded systems) spanning multiple years as their SANtricity operating system and E-Series platforms have sold over 750,000 units
  • Pure Storage uses its 700% growth to show that it’s the #1 fastest-growing flash storage company
  • Then, if you want to compare any vendor’s total all flash array (AFA) systems sold this past year against hybrid storage arrays, Nimble Storage beats any of the AFA vendors.

Jay notes that these companies are all correct since the term “Flash Storage” can be defined in a number of ways depending upon the metric you want to use.

In Jay’s words: “They all can be declared the winner based on the metric!”  I would have to agree.

4 Responses to Who’s #1 in Flash Arrays?

  • Mike Coons says:

    Great article and thanks for clarifying!!

    Recently met with our IBM rep and he didn’t like my statement that “I don’t think IBM is a storage company”. So he sent me an email in which Gartner states they are #1. I replied with your article as they all want to claim they are #1!

    Thanks again and please keep on reporting!

    • Interesting perspective on #1 slot for sure. I was the first person/firm to have an XtremIO array prior to EMC buying them. There were 2 made, I still have the first of 2 in my Innovation Center. It was basic, no HA or other services but introduced us to AFA. We have a recent version. However, now with Flash being mainstream and hyper converged inching its way in with AFA capabilities, I have viewed the technology a bit differently. IBM v9000 is blown me away with their innovation on the microlatency modules. “Fencing”. This is a key feature that can and will extend the life of the module over any other SSD on erase penalties. We could see 10-12 years of consistent performance for mixed workloads. Its just math and what IBM has done with TMS does classify as true innovation. Mike Coons, your comment about IBM not being a stroage company is true, however you say that as a negative and I view it as a real value and very positive. IBM is focused on providing real value, performance and true engineering by building in algorithms outside of compression and deduplication. In fact today v9000 has no deduplication, that’s an add on from a 3rd party. Why? they are in a class by themselves. Most high end transactional databases/applications don’t dedupe well. VDI that’s different and that is the market Pure, XtremIO and others are touting. To me, I would be investing in innovative technology, value and engineering. That is who IBM is.

  • Rob Shawver says:

    I would love to have seen HP 3PAR on this article as well.

  • Jay Kramer says:

    It is interesting that you bring up HP. As the Chairperson for the Awards Program at The Flash Memory Summit in August 2015, I can tell you that the HP 3PAR StoreServ 20850 All-Flash Array won a Best of Show award for its game changing innovation. It will be interesting to see if HP becomes a market share leader in the all-flash array market in the coming year.

    See the article here: http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Around-the-Storage-Block/The-Most-Innovative-All-Flash-Array-HP-3PAR/ba-p/6797082

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