Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who's #1 in disk arrays? (yawn)

Most end users don’t care much about vendors’ market shares (although they do care who’s rising or falling rapidly) but, maybe because I’m a bit of a sports fan, I like stats and standings, including those in the largest revenue segment of the storage industry – disk arrays.

Gartner Inc.’s numbers for the “external controller-based disk storage market” in the second quarter of this year (the most recent period for which they have final tallies) show that the 800-pound gorilla held on to its first place position, comfortably. On Q2 revenues of just over $1 billion, EMC garnered a 24.3% market share, followed by IBM with 14.1% ($631.7 million) and HP at 11.8% ($528.6 million).

Rounding out the top eight vendors were Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, NetApp, Sun and Fujitsu (including Fujitsu Siemens).

Somewhat surprisingly, Sun had the highest growth year-over-year (a 34.7% increase in revenues), attributable largely to its success with the StorageTek 2000/6000/9000 series of arrays. Also surprisingly, all but two of the top eight vendors had double-digit growth, with NetApp coming in second behind Sun with a 22.9% increase. Only HP (3.4% growth) and Fujitsu (a -2.8% decrease) did not rack up double-digit growth.

In one more surprising stat, the “other vendors” category showed strong growth in Q2, posting a 38.5% increase in revenue year-over-year while increasing market share from 13.5% in Q2 2007 to 15.8% in Q2 2008.

Prediction: NetApp will beat out Hitachi Data Systems within the next quarter or two to gain the #5 position in the disk array market (although it’s important to note that HDS’ revenues exclude OEM revenue from HP and Sun).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Virtual servers and storage

One of the, if not the, most interesting topics in the storage space these days -- and probably for the next couple years -- is the challenge of optimizing your storage environment, devices, and software in order to maximize the benefits of virtual servers. For me, it's interesting in part because I don't know squat about virtual server technology. Sure, I understand the basics and the benefits, but I've never been a server administrator, let alone a virtual server administrator.

But I have friends who do understand the synergies between storage and virtual servers in detail. For example, InfoStor recently hosted a Webcast titled Storage Challenges Created by a Virtualized Server Infrastructure, which was presented by Taneja Group analysts Jeff Byrne and Jeff Boles and sponsored by FalconStor Software. (NOTE: Registration is required to view the Webcast.)

The bulk of the presentation addressed the "Five Storage Challenges Exacerbated by Server Virtualization":

1. Storage Utilization Decreased by Server Virtualization

2. Application Performance Dependent on Storage Performance

3. End-to-End Visibility from Virtual Machine through Physical Device

4. Diagnostics, Tuning and Change Management Are More Difficult

5. Backup and Recovery are More Complex

The two Jeffs also provided advice on how to address all of these daunting challenges. If you have anything to do with the storage side of the virtual server equation I urge you to check out this Webcast.

This topic is so hot that VMworld may be one of the, if not the, pre-eminent storage-related trade shows in 2009.