EMC, IBM, HPE, And Pure Storage Lead The Pack As Flash Storage Sales Soar

7 April -2016:  This Seeking Alpha Eye on Tech column looks at recent figures highlighting the flash storage array market’s rapid growth.

The numbers suggest EMC, IBM, and HPE are effectively addressing the threat posed by flash to their disk storage sales. But the cloud threat still looms large.

They also help explain why NetApp is acquiring SolidFire, show the opportunity that exists for Pure Storage, and show the uphill battle faced by Violin Memory.

A Stifel Nicolaus report that partly relies on figures supplied by Gartner indicates the all-flash storage array (“AFA”) market grew 91% Y/Y in Q4 to $1.05B. 102% growth was recorded in Q3.

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The growth comes at a time when the broader enterprise storage market remains pressured – IDC estimates the total disk storage system market grew only 2.8% Y/Y in Q3 to $9.1B, with four of the market’s top-5 players seeing negative growth as smaller players and contract manufacturers shipping to cloud giants (referred to as “ODM Direct” by IDC) gained share.

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The flash market’s leaders

Gartner’s numbers indicate EMC’s (NYSE:EMC) XtremIO unit is still easily the biggest player in the AFA space: Its revenue rose an estimated 82% Y/Y in Q4 to $384.6M. Since then, EMC’s DSSD unit (reportedly acquired for ~$1B) has launched its first flash array (the D5), while providing impressive IOPS (throughput), memory bandwidth, latency, and storage density figures. EMC is aiming the D5 at demanding analytics, database, and data-processing workloads, while targeting mainstream enterprise workloads via XtremIO’s arrays.

 

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