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All-Flash Storage Market Position: Unspinning the Spin



Time for some Facts versus Fiction Storage. Check the IDC WW Disk Tracker and check the storage stages. You’ll see that in the all-flash segment, HPE offers the best product in the market with HPE 3PAR StoreServ storage.

There’s a lot of nonsense to be found on the web these days. Lots and lots. Surfing squirrels, celebrity spats, and now we even Storage Market Share Facts Only_blog.jpghave “fake news.”   

And in the spirit of “fake news” – we’ve got a great topic for you: unspinning the spin.

It’s no secret that the future of external storage is all-flash arrays. According to IDC, the all-flash external storage market is growing 60-70% year-over-year. The size of the market itself is roughly $4B already.

The key word in that sentence: growing.

So now we have two themes: “unspinning the spin” and “growth.”  Don’t worry. I’m going to tie those two things together right now.

As of right now HPE is:

  • #1 midrange storage product *
  • #1 FC attached storage product
  • #1 in internal storage
  • #2 in external storageand that's only because of the Dell EMC merger as we're ahead of both of those companies individually!

Those are company stats and they’re real. No spin. No twist. No funky story. Look up the IDC WW Disk Tracker and check the storage stats. You don’t need a prism or anything else to find those numbers. They’re clear and they’re straightforward.

It's time for real talk.

In the all-flash segment HPE offers the best product in the market: 3PAR. Since growth is one of our themes today, let’s look at a couple of 3PAR facts:

  • 3PAR is growing about 112% year-over-year.*
  • HPE market share in the all-flash segment is up 3.2% to 13.4 on the strength of 3PAR.*

How good are those numbers really? Consider this:  HPE is one of only 2 vendors who actually grew market share in Q3. Pure, EMC, IBM and the all-encompassing “Others” grouping that includes pretty much all the start-ups all declined. *

Obviously I’m not surprised by this. I already told you we make the best product in ALL of storage.

Stop the spin.

Every time I go to a competitor website I feel like I need a Magic Decoder Ring. Storage Market Share Stop the Spin_blog.jpg

Some of our competitors take a make that magical approach to marketing.  Magical as in “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

Let’s take for example a small former start-up turned IPO that spins so many stories their name should have been “Fiction Storage.” 

Of course when you hear the words “Fiction” and “Storage” in the same sentence you know I’m talking about Pure who shall be known as Fiction Storage henceforth!

Why am I picking on Pure you might ask? Let me be clear on this point: I’m not “picking on Pure.”  I’m not “vendor bashing.” I’m responding to a blog. I’m responding to one of the most misleading pieces of fiction I have ever read.

I’m referring to the recently published blog entitled “Movin’ on up to 7th place.” Before I go one step further I need to know:  Who in their right mind celebrates 7th place? 7th place means you got your butt kicked six times. George Jefferson would lose his mind if he came in 7th place. 

IDC_graph-2.jpgBesides the fact that it insulted one of the greatest TV Sitcoms of all time, what about that blog compels us to respond?  It was this graph right here ->

Looks like an honest chart, doesn’t it?

NO! It’s not. It’s a misleading chart from Fiction Storage. 

First, the chart specifically calls out gains/losses year-over-year NOT the revenue. Why would you show gains/losses instead of revenue? Only one reason: The overall revenue of established vendors, even when very successful, is NOT going to move the needle all that much when measured this way. 

Simple math table to make the example:Stop the Spin Storage Numbers.JPG

Company A’s total revenue in Q2 was $11,000.00. That was a 10% increase from Q1. Company B’s total revenue in Q2 was $20.  That’s good for 100% increase over Q1.

Get the point? If we just look at the “Growth” column then Company B looks fantastic!  But whose revenue would you rather have?


That’s why you show a misleading, misrepresenting graph like that.

You see that chart in the blog references IDC numbers for ALL of external storage. All as in “spinning disk” plus “flash.” Spinning disk arrays are a declining market when you look in aggregate across all price bands. All-flash arrays are a growing market. See the problem here? Of course these numbers aren’t going to make the other vendors look good.

On that note, HPE’s storage revenue of $549M is almost 4x the revenue Fiction Storage.

Bringing it home: Tying all-flash, unspinning the spin, and growth together.

Okay now that the point is made, let’s wrap this all up in a nice bow, shall we?

The only market Fiction Storage currently plays in is the all-flash external storage market. Let’s shine a light on that and compare all-flash revenue for this last quarter*:IDC_Revenue.jpgOh how I love clarity.

Here we see exactly what I’m talking about above. In just the all-flash segment HPE 3PAR actually outgrew Pure by 51% and outgained Pure in Market Share by 3.4%.

In actuality Pure lost -0.3% market share. That’s right lost. As in not growing but shrinking.

So instead of spending all this time on misleading charts, I would suggest Fiction Storage focus on its own balance sheet. To date it has yet to post a profit, and as of last quarter its net losses continue to pile up. (Pile up to the tune of $78M which is a 28% increase in loses year-over-year.)

Okay so we addressed the growth—and how 3PAR is growing while Pure isn’t.  We also unspun the spin by attacking the blog and the misleading graphs.  And all of it happened in the all-flash segment.

See that? All wrapped up in a nice package. You’re welcome.

Next time, pick a fair fight.

Whether it’s Pure or EMC or NetApp or whoever else, if you want to have a storage conversation, then let’s have one. You want to call us out for whatever reason, fine.  It’s fair game. But keep it real. Call out HPE 3PAR because that is what you’re all losing to.

But be careful if you’re going to pick that fight.

In Q3 2015 in ALL External Storage 3PAR revenue specifically was US$305M. In Q3 2016 3PAR revenue specifically was $321M. That’s a gain of almost 5% year over year. *

In other words, the HPE 3PAR platform revenue specifically is growing 5% year over year in total external storage AND is growing in the all-flash market.

We’re growing in a market that’s actually shrinking. We’re also growing almost double the market in a market that is growing.*

No matter how you slice it, we’re outperforming everyone. But we’re especially outperforming Fiction Storage. In fact, both as a vendor and as an individual product we’re clearly ahead of them and have been for 5 of the last 6 quarters.*

Just bring it.

At HPE, we focus on making better products every day. We focus on evolution. We don’t mince words. We certainly don’t publish or push half-truths or misleading charts.

So my advice to customers evaluating these platforms would be simple. Keep it real, bypass the marketing and engage us in a proof of concept. For competitors, let’s focus on the strengths of our technology and let the best product win.

Jorge MaestrePNG.png


Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Jorge Maestre, Competitive Strategist, Global Storage, HPE. @BigStrongGeek


* Source:  IDC Worldwide Disk Tracker for External Storage, Q3 2016

Blog edited Feb7 pm.


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Joachim Blum

No doubt HPE is growing. I'm not sure, why you pick in Pure. Reading your numbers, Pure is also growing.

HPE 305 Mio$ (3Q2015) to 321 Mio$ (3Q2016) => 16 Mio gain

Pure 92 Mio$ (3Q2015) to 146 Mio$ (3Q2016) => 54 Mio gain

All the others are shrinking. 

Make a fair fight in the marketplace.... ask all the HPE customers to invite Pure for the POC. Then customers can directly compare... just be a fair sports man



@Joachim Blum

I'm not sure if you read the entire blog but you should read it again.  I specifically point out that I'm RESPONDING to Pure's blog and most definitely NOT picking on them. 

To your point, both companies are growing.  Pure is growing 10% less than the market--and is in regression.  We're growing about 2X the market.  So there is a BIG difference there.

We do agree on your last point--which is my final point as well.  No talk.  Just PoC.

Joe Sobeski

Jorge - nice article. I started reading it without knowing who wrote it but I knew it was you. I guess I know your style.  Anyway, thanks for keeping everyone honest. Regardless of what the numbers say, Pure is number one in mindshare when it comes to all flash. For that I commend them. Although that mind share comes with a very large price tag.

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