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Who's king of the hyperconverged castle? Dell or Nutanix? It's not as clear-cut as it seems

Three letters: O E M

Analysis When IDC published its third 2017 quarter converged and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) numbers, Dell was in the lead.

It had a 30.6 per cent revenue share, at $306.8m. Nutanix was second at $207.4m. But IDC's public release didn't reveal how many XC systems Dell had shipped, and as these are OEM'd from Nutanix then the two revenue share positions might be different.

Aaron Rakers, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo, has seen more detailed IDC numbers and crunched them. We've seen some of these and built the following table of HCI vendor revenue shares in the quarter:

3Q 2017 Revenue $US Share % Year ago share %
Nutanix 345,000,000 34 33
VMware VSAN 325,000,000 32 23
Dell XC 120,000,000 11.8  
Dell EMC minus XC 166,000,000 17 16
Total Dell (inc VMware) 611,000,000 60.2  
Cisco 65,700,000 6.6 2
HPE 54,000,000 5.4  
Others 59,000,000 5.8  
TOTAL 1,015,000,000    

The rightmost column numbers are incomplete, and put there just for interest, by the way.

The first thing we see is that Dell Technologies leads the market.

Adding VMware VSAN revenues to Dell EMC ones, including the XC, we get $611m – a 60.2 per cent share. Excluding the XC gives us a 48.4 per cent share and $491m. Still way out in front.

Separating out Dell Technologies into VMware and Dell EMC, and assigning $120m XC revenues to Nutanix, we see Nutanix leads with $345m and a 34 per cent share. VMware, with VSAN, is second at $325m and 32 per cent.

Dell EMC is third with $166m and a 17 per cent share.

Rakers also provided some individual product numbers:

  • Dell EMC
    • ScaleIO – $44,000,000
    • VxRail – $87,800,000
    • VxRack – $34,900,000
  • HPE
    • SimpliVity 380 – $26,500,000

We can see that the XC outsold any individual Dell EMC HCI product.


In summary, Dell Technologies utterly dominates the HCI market with its VMware and Dell EMC offerings. However, Nutanix leads the market when the overall Dell number is divided into separate VMware and EMC numbers. And, interestingly, the Dell EMC channel sells more OEM'd Nutanix XC product than any of its own.

Nutanix's overall revenue market share has grown by 1 per cent over the past 12 months, as has Dell EMC's, showing that Nutanix is growing despite competition from Dell EMC's own products.

Cisco and HPE are tail-enders with 6.6 and 5.4 per cent shares respectively. NetApp is not present as it has only just entered the market.

The HCI market generally might look like it will develop like the purpose-built deduplicating appliance market, in which one vendor dominated its competitors – a Data Domain wipeout in other words. But, in HCI, Dell Technologies doesn't have a single Data Domain-class product. It's leading overall but not dominating because Nutanix – at least for now – appears to have the stronger individual product set.

The Register has asked Dell EMC and Nutanix to comment. ®

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