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Analysis

The origins of Cloud Expo Europe/Datacentre World 2015 (CEEDCW15) go back over a decade, first emerging as Storage Networking World (SNW) Europe.

This Insight analyzes the European impact by a select number of vendors that exhibited at CEEDCW15.

Our research at CEEDCW15 indicates that the interest in storage systems and solutions continues to be buoyant, with new entrants in this space still generating buzz, despite the maturity of the market. Neuralytix research has previously indicated that a newly formed Dell/EMC is likely to create a five percent market share “black hole.” Neuralytix anticipates that the combined Dell/EMC will give up five points of market share, increasing available market for smaller firms from 15-18% to 20-23% in a roughly $35B market (in 2016).

While much talk in the storage industry is centered around modular and scale out storage, there are still entrants in the very high end enterprise market.

Monolithic Storage Could Make a Comeback

Serial entrepreneur and master engineer Moshe Yanai is the brains behind Infinidat; his third generation of storage systems aimed at top tier enterprise users, for whom technology drives mission-critical applications within the enterprise (e.g. CRM, ERP, etc.) Yanai brings together contemporary technologies, efficiencies of scale and cost, and simplicity of deployment, provisioning and management.

This strategy raises the question of whether emerging storage firms believe that the market cycle is heading back towards monolithic or monolithic-like storage. This Yanai renaissance again rings with romantic overtones of Yanai’s Midas touch. Neuralytix research shows that investors agree, given its $1.2B valuation, making it one of the most valuable privately-held companies in the world in a very short time.

Performance Still Matters

At CEEDCW15, there were not a significant number of storage announcements, since the North American announcements are generally timed around EMC World in May, and VMworld in August. For Europe, VMworld Barcelona had just completed, where European based announcements tend to be made.

Nonetheless, DDN announced its new, unified DDN SFA14K and SFA14KE platforms ahead of the Super Computing  (SC15) conference in Austin – claiming the highest performance hybrid storage and hyper-converged platforms in the industry today.

DDN continues to focus on the high end high-performance computing (HPC) market. Although DDN has sought to address the enterprise high performance computing market (as opposed to its distinction of the HPC market), Neuralytix believes that DDN continues to struggle outside its traditional client base.

That said, the insatiable need for more performance, irrespective of the market in which it is sought, will always be there, allowing DDN to be a mainstay and influential player in the storage systems market.

NetApp put on a brave face despite recent losses and lackluster releases that put into question whether it can capture the newly available market share expected to be given up by the new combined Dell/EMC ahead of the newer entrants. Neuralytix’s assessment is that it is too little too late.

What surprised Neuralytix further was the absence of NetApp’s long-time partner Fujitsu. Instead, an unexpected Fujitsu partner, DataCore, espoused its close relationship with Fujitsu (which makes sense, since DataCore, a long time and successful provider of software-defined storage [SDS] gives Fujitsu an instant leg up in competing in the SDS space).

Guidance

Whereas, new entrants to the storage markets were often considered “ankle-biters,” the same entrants to the storage market are making significant in-roads and presenting highly viable alternatives to the “top ten” vendors that have traditionally held roughly 80% of the market.

These entrants are coming at the market from every angle – high-end, monolithic, modular, scale out, performance, long term archiving, or software-driven – at significantly lower cost through the use of common-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts. This, along with market consolidation, is putting immense pressure on traditional vendors for the first time in over a decade.

Despite all the talk and buzz around everything becoming software-defined, there is clear evidence that traditional SAN/NAS storage will continue to be a mainstay in the overall storage systems market for the foreseeable future. Neuralytix believes that the storage market will follow closely to the Fibre Channel (FC) market, where, despite all the premature suggestions of the FC market’s demise, it continues to be strong, as IT professionals evolve slowly, and carefully towards newer architectures.

After all, of all the components in a datacenter, storage is undoubtedly the most conservative of all.

Neuralytix will continue its examination of CEEDCW15 and the European market tomorrow, with a look at the impact of Solid State Disk, specifically in the wake of the Pure Storage IPO.

 

Katey Wood contributed to this Insight.