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Gartner ECB (External Controller-Based Disk) – 4Q2012
Gartner EBC - All Vendors

Gartner ECB (External Controller-Based Disk) – 4Q2012

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Figure 1 – Gartner EBC – All Vendors

The latest Gartner ECB survey is out and as discussed in my last post, I’ve updated my data to reflect the latest set of figures.  The vendors all have ups and downs each quarter so this data is particularly interesting as it covers year end 2012 and allows four years of comparisons from 2009 through to 2012.

As expected, in absolute terms, EMC continue to power ahead, as is indicated in the “all vendors” graph on the left (figure 1).  What’s more interesting is the obvious sales cycle the vendors go through.  For EMC, quarter 4 is the important one as that’s where they receive the biggest uptick.  IBM have a curious but consistent cycle that declines heavily but also rises heavily too, and again is remarkably consistent.  The other vendors also have similar cycles (which no doubt fit their own financial year ends).  Hitachi’s is interesting because for them, the jump from Q3 to Q4 has typically been high, with other period seeing a drop.  Over this quarter that expected drop hasn’t been seen, but rather they saw a slight rise.  Does this demonstrate an improved growth business?

Figure 2 – Gartner ECB 3 Year Relati

Oracle’s graph continues to look dire, although this quarter they saw only a slight drop on the previous one.  The polynomial curve mapped against the figures starts to show a slight turn towards bottoming out rather than a continual slide.  NetApp’s figures show a flattening out of their growth compared to great performance from 2009 onwards.  Overall, only EMC and Hitachi continue to show straight line growth, although I should stress that this is a small sample of data and it can be interpreted many ways.

Finally, the relative 3 year growth graph, comparing figures from 2009 onwards can now be presented with a full year for 2012.  This is shown in figure 2.  EMC continue to grow consistently strongly.  NetApp have declined slightly and their growth has slowed to match that of EMC.  Hitachi continues to be number 3 over the period with consistent growth figures.  The remainder have either declined slightly, or in the case of Oracle, declined significantly.  As previously mentioned, Oracle’s decline appears to be flattening out.


The Architect’s View

These figures can be viewed in many ways, however there is no doubting (or denying) the continued strength of EMC’s business.  NetApp seem to have slowed slightly and I wonder how much of that is a reflection on the crossroads many customers find themselves at with Data ONTAP and the migration to cluster-mode.  Hitachi continue to demonstrate good figures and that reflects what they have presented at their Influencers’ Days and what I’ve heard on the ground from customers and other vendors.  As for the others, their business remains flat and they need some injection of ideas or technology to get thing moving.

If these trends continue, then we’re going to see an increasingly three-horse race in storage.  That’s not surprising if we look at Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant for General Purpose Disk Arrays, which as expected rates EMC, NetApp and Hitachi as the top three visonaries and deliverers – as it would using this source data which is from Gartner itself.


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About Chris M Evans

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