HPE: All Flash, (And) Substance Too
Mar16

HPE: All Flash, (And) Substance Too

The enterprise storage market has been in commodity hell since at least the mid-1980s, the tape, disk and now solid-state/flash version of Moore’s Law of constantly decreasing prices and margins with constantly increasing capacities and capabilities. To stem the bleeding, new and existing storage vendors have been flocking to flash technology, in hybrid — mixed flash and disk — and all-flash drives, with the latest such announcement coming from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. However, while total enterprise storage systems factory revenue declined 2.2% year over year to $10.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2015, and capacity shipments increased 10.7% YoY, HPE was the only top-five vendor that grew its storage revenues.Congratulations (and I’m not saying that just because I own HP/E shares). “The enterprise storage market closed out 2015 on a slight downturn, as spending on traditional external arrays continues to decline,” said IDC’s Liz Conner, Research Manager, Storage Systems. “Over the past year, end user focus has shifted towards server-based storage, software-defined storage, and cloud-based storage. As a result, traditional enterprise storage vendors are forced to revamp and update their product portfolios to meet these shifting demands.” Flash has also been the beneficiary of enterprise storage customers, according to IDC’s most recent numbers. The All Flash Array (AFA) market generated $955.4 million in revenue during the quarter, up 71.9% YoY, while the Hybrid Flash Array (HFA) segment of the market rang up $2.9 billion in revenue, representing just over a quarter (28%) of the total market. Storage was a big part of HPE’s recent success, according to President and CEO Meg Whitman at the company’s Q1 earnings call earlier this month. “We had record revenue for 3PAR, driven by triple-digit constant currency growth in all-flash, which grew at three times the market rates.” Which brings me to HPE’s news, which included 3PAR 20840 converged flash array, StoreOnce 5500 and multi-node 6600 data protection, and the Get Thinner Guarantee program. “At the highest altitude… storage is at the heart of a lot of major datacenter transformations… it’s a great time to be in storage… for HPE”, said Brad Park, Director GTM Strategy and Enablement for HPE Storage. He told IT Trends & Analysis that he sees the move to flash as being similar as the move to virtualization and VMware a decade ago. “I think flash and the move to the all flash datacenter has a lot of parallels.” Flash has come a long way in the last five years, said Park, driven by three elements that make the all-flash datacenter very relevant: performance, affordability and the most topical, functionality. “The third piece and where we think the datacenter...

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EMC: Going Full-Flash on Primary Storage

Flash-based storage has played increasingly important roles in business computing for the better part of a decade, beginning in 2008 when EMC became the first Tier 1 vendor to develop and deliver flash options (in the form of solid state drives – SSDs) in its storage portfolio. Since then, the company has become the dominant vendor in flash-based storage with, according to IDC’s latest analysis, nearly 40% of the overall market, or nearly 3X the share of its nearest three competitors combined. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that EMC doubled down on its long-time bets this week by declaring 2016 to be the “Year of All-Flash,” significantly expanding the size/scope of its flash-based solutions and committing to all-flash architectures for future primary storage offerings. This is in preparation for 2020 when the company estimates that all production applications will depend on flash-based storage, relegating traditional disk to archive and content depot use cases. Is that a reasonable assumption and outlook? Just as importantly, how is EMC planning to get from here to there, and how will these newest announcements and solutions contribute to that journey? To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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EMC Continues its March to Flash

This is an interesting week in storage — there’s more to come that I can’t share just yet but I can say that I am likely to type the word “mainframe” more this week than I have done in a long time prior! That’ll make some older folks very happy as much of the intent of virtualization, convergence and clouds seems to be in line, at least conceptually, with what the mainframe was all about (now, there’s a fine IT philosophy discussion to be sure!) First out of the gate comes EMC. The vendor, probably glad to have something other than the impending Dell deal to talk about, announced a bunch of stuff today. The storage excitement is in two new flash products — a new all-flashVMAX and the much-awaited official arrival of its DSSD. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Dell: Disk Isn’t Dead But…
Jul22

Dell: Disk Isn’t Dead But…

If it was just about adding the latest media type – in this case SSDs based on Triple Level Cell 3D NAND technology – then Dell’s bragging rights for the lowest-cost enterprise flash would last just as long as it took for its flash storage competitors to jump on the TLC bandwagon. In other words, not very long. However Dell’s secret sauce – a virtualized storage array architecture that automatically leverages multiple flash types and hard drives in the same array based on workload goals and usage patterns – gives it a significant advantage over the competition that must offer less elegant, and more expensive, solutions. “Dell’s unique intelligent data placement strategy allows different types of flash storage — SLC, MLC and TLC — to be efficiently deployed in multiple tier architectures that can be more cost-effective than single tier flash-based arrays,” said Eric Burgener, research director, storage systems, IDC, in a prepared statement. “Dell’s announcement of flash drives built on TLC 3D NAND technology puts them in the storage density lead at 45TB per rack unit for flash-based arrays and drops the dollar per gigabyte cost of enterprise flash storage to roughly the same cost as 15K RPM HDDs — with significantly higher performance. Cost has been the single biggest stumbling block to flash adoption in the data center, and Dell’s announcement of a new lower dollar per gigabyte price point for all-flash configurations enables the use of flash technology across an even greater variety of enterprise workloads.” Due to ship next month, the Dell Storage SC Series arrays with TLC-based Mainstream Read-Intensive (RI) SSDs offer up to 24x performance improvement and the same price for capacity as 15K hard disk drives, and double the density – 90 terabytes of raw flash capacity per 2U array. The company can now offer SC4020 all-flash mid-tier solutions for as low as $1.66 per gigabyte and as low as $0.58 per gigabyte for typical mid-tier hybrid flash configurations, said Travis Vigil, Executive Director, Dell Storage. The $1.66/GB claim is based on an SC4020 with the raw capacity of (24) 3.8 TB Mainstream RI (TLC 3D NAND) drives. It includes comparing this 2U “all-in-one” solution (which includes dual controllers, core software, installation services and the typical industry 3-year support contract) against the industry’s leading storage vendors’ street price on similar mid-range all-flash arrays over 1TB: Dell (SC4020); EMC (VNX5200; VNX-F5000); HP (3PAR 7200 and 7200c); NetApp (FAS2520); IBM (V5000); Pure Storage (FA-450); and HDS (HUS110). The numbers are misleading, adds Vigil, however, which weights the advantage even more in Dell’s favor. The $1.66/Gb price is based on Dell’s raw numbers compared with...

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Dell Shakes Up Storage Market
May11

Dell Shakes Up Storage Market

Dell has made a number of storage announcements that include a very aggressively priced 2U enterprise-class array for $14k, almost half the competition’s price. The new offerings – SCv2000 Series arrays (available now); PS6610 Series arrays and EqualLogic PS Series Array Software 8.0 (early Q3); and Dell Storage with Microsoft Storage Spaces (June) – hold a lot of promise, but as always, the customers will determine the ultimate winners and losers. So far, the customers are voting in Dell’s favor. According to the most recent IDC numbers, Dell (9%) was tied with IBM for third place in global enterprise storage spending, but turned in the best results – 5.2% – in terms of YoY growth. EMC took top spot with 22.2%, but only grew 3.3%; HP was second (13.8% and 4.8%, respectively), while both IBM and NetApp revenues shrank (-23.8% in Big Blue’s case). Dell did not figure in IDC’s top five external disk storage system vendor revenues for Q4. EMC (32.9%, up 3.3%) was followed by IBM (11.7%, -7.2%), NetApp (10.7%, -3.5%), HP (9.6%, up 3.3%) and Hitachi (8.1%, up 3.5%). This would underscore Dell’s focus on total storage — attached and server-based — which has enabled it to claim http://wp.me/p2FWwi-1bv top spot in enterprise storage. Rather than just claiming bragging rights Alan Atkinson, VP and GM, Dell Storage, noted that the combination highlighted the blurring of the lines between servers and storage due to the emergence of converged infrastructure and software defined storage. “This latest ranking and rapid increase in our customer base demonstrate Dell’s ability to successfully offer customers both traditional external arrays and, as storage continues to move closer to the compute node, internal storage with our server business.” Dell is also busy pushing its software-defined storage agenda (Blue Thunder). While nowhere near the size of disk or flash storage, SDS is expected to explode at a CAGR of 35.20% over the period 2015-2019. “Dell has emerged as a global leader in software-defined storage solutions, based on its unique, broad and embracing approach to work closely with key storage software vendors to deliver robust, validated solutions on Dell hardware that’s backed by Dell global services and support,” said Scott Sinclair, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “The Dell and Nutanix marriage is a win for both companies, and, ultimately, customers. Nutanix gains by partnering with a global leader with proven server technology and services, and Dell gains by being the only large vendor integrating its servers with Nutanix’s market leading hyperconverged software. Customers get the known quality and support of Dell plus Nutanix’s easily scaled and managed software for virtualized environments.” According to a new...

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