All-flash array reports aren't all about all-flash arrays, rages Gartner

It's about SSAs, not AFAs – they reckon flash is not forever


Comment Our earlier pop at Gartner's all-flash array methodology has generated a response from Gartner.

Joe Unsworth from Gartner – the author of the Market Share report and co-author on the Solid-State Arrays magic quadrant – has been in touch. We said corrective glasses were needed to read the report. View what follows as corrective eye surgery, so we won't need the glasses in future.

Unsworth doesn’t like the term “all-flash array”, saying: “We refer to these as Solid-State Arrays because All-Flash Arrays will eventually be an incorrect term, as other non-volatile memory technologies are used to complement flash technology within these arrays in the future.”

What is and what is not included in Gartner’s SSA market share analysis? Unsworth says: “We did endeavour to track the 'SSD-Only options' as well, recognising the importance of this business regardless of any classifications or inclusion criteria.”

He tells us that Gartner clients who read the SSA material understand that “the SSA category is a fast-growing subcategory of the broader external controller-based (ECB) storage market. Considering the potential disruptive nature of SSAs on the general-purpose ECB disk storage market, Gartner has elected to report only those vendors that have SSA platforms with a dedicated model and name and cannot be configured with HDDs at any time, now or in the future.”

Table 4 in his report includes – in addition to the companies that produce only SSAs (namely, Kaminario, Nimbus Data, Pure Storage, SolidFire and Violin Memory) – the following hybrid ECB vendors and SSA products:

  • EMC: XtremIO and VNX-F
  • NetApp: EF540/550 and All Flash FAS (productised in June 2014)
  • Tegile Systems: T-Series T3800, T3600 and T3700 (productised in June 2014 and August 2014, respectively)
  • IBM: Flash System V840, 840 and older models
  • HP: 3PAR StoreServ 7450 and 7200 series
  • Huawei: Dorado series and 88800F
  • Fujitsu Eternus DX200F (in general availability starting in June 2014)

Unsworth states: “General-purpose mid-range and high-end ECB disk storage arrays configured solely with SSDs as options are not SSAs; therefore, they are not included in Gartner's 2014 estimations of SSA shipments and revenue.”

He continues: “Gartner did track the SSD-only-configured, general-purpose storage array market with product families such as Hitachi HUS VM, Dell Compellent, EMC VMAX, IBM DS8000, HP 7000 series, NetApp FAS (during 1H14) and others. Gartner estimates that in 2014, this market represented roughly $404 million in SSD-only configuration array revenue and was led by Hitachi.”

“It is important to note that these systems and sales are included within the ECB Market Statistics report but excluded from our SSA estimates in Table 4,” he adds.

So it is possible to work out general combined revenues for SSAs and SSD-only-configured, general-purpose storage arrays at a supplier level - if Gartner’s ECB Market Statistics report provides the supplier-level numbers.

We wonder why, in that case, Gartner doesn’t choose to deliver such combined numbers in a single report. ®


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