WW NAS/Unified Storage Market
Despite turbulence in global economies and tight IT
budgets, the NAS/unified storage market grew 19.7% in 2012 (compared with 32.5%
No.1 EMC extended its share of
the market's revenue, reflecting continuing
movement toward unified storage by major SAN vendors.
- EMC and NetApp retained
almost 80% of the market. They were
separated by more than $2 billion in revenue from IBM and HP, their next two
- No.1 EMC grew its overall network-attached storage
(NAS)/unified storage share to 47.9% (up from 41.7% in 2011), while No.2
NetApp's overall NAS/unified storage share dropped to 30.3% (down from 36%
- In the overall NAS/unified storage share ranking, the
positions of the nine named vendors remained unchanged in 2012 (in order of
share rank: EMC, NetApp, IBM, HP, Oracle, Netgear, Dell, Hitachi/Hitachi
Data Systems and Fujitsu).
- For the fifth consecutive year, iSCSI SAN revenue and FC
SAN revenue continued to gain proportionate share in the overall NAS/unified
- The pure NAS market continues to grow at a much faster
rate (15.9%) than the overall external controller-based (ECB) block-access
market (2.3%), in large part due to the expanding NAS support of growing
vertical applications and virtualization.
Market Share Data
The overall NAS/unified storage market includes NAS
products that exclusively offer NAS protocols, such as NFS and CIFS, as well as
unified storage that offers both NAS protocols and block storage protocols, such
as FC and iSCSI, from the same system.
Overall Market Segment Performance Analysis
Market conditions were challenging, but the total
NAS/unified storage market grew by 19.7% in 2012, driven by the increasing SAN
contribution to the unified storage market and EMC's continuing excellence in
Unified Storage Sales Continue to Accelerate
The concept of unified storage is no longer driven only by
NAS vendors and products; SAN vendors have started to add NAS capabilities on
their SAN storage arrays with a unified management interface as well (and some
vendors, such as Hitachi/HDS, have added object storage access). As a result,
the unified storage market has grown much faster than in the past.
In fact, the FC SAN portion of the NAS/unified storage market
increased by 82.3% to account for 27% of the market in 2011. Although this trend
continued in 2012, the growth rate was diminished at 28.7%, but FC SAN share
grew to 28.6% from 26.6%. We expect the NAS/SAN convergence will focus on the
midrange storage array arena, and we expect the combined share of iSCSI SAN and
FC SAN systems will continue to increase in coming years, as it has done for the
last five years.
Huawei in recent quarters has shown significant enterprise
growth and will emerge from the Others category and become one of the named,
separately tracked vendors in Gartner's ECB market statistics beginning in 2Q13.
Raw Capacity Growth
The raw capacity growth rate at 15.8% was the lowest in
recent years, largely due to tight budget constraints and the necessity of
deploying greater storage efficiencies throughout the infrastructure. However,
Gartner still expects that capacity growth will continue unabated in the
35%-to-45% range, and it may yet exceed 50% in future years.
Top Vendors Analyzed
For the past decade, NetApp and EMC have dominated the
NAS/unified storage market, and their lion's share of this space continues to
grow. Combined EMC and NetApp shares expanded from 43.1% in 2008 to 78.2% in
NetApp lost considerable market
share to EMC in 2011 and 2012. In 2008,
2009 and 2010, NetApp held 41.6%, 39.3% and 40.2% market shares, but its share
fell to 36% in 2011 and to 30.3% in 2012. Meanwhile, EMC's share grew from 11.5%
in 2008 to 47.9% in 2012.
Much of EMC's growth has been due to the Isilon acquisition at
the end of 2010 (EMC's sales force was able to place Isilon's scale-out NAS
systems in a much wider variety of global vertical industries, especially
financial services, universities/research, media/entertainment, government and
healthcare); to continuing growth in the company's Data Domain backup business;
and to the company's VNX unified storage replacing not only the
previous-generation Celerra NAS business but also its CLARiiON SAN business,
transferring a significant portion of its existing midrange SAN business to the
unified storage category. We expect VNX will replace all of its separate NAS and
SAN arrays with unified platforms during 2013.
Much of NetApp's share loss has been due to the delayed and
ineffective launch of its next-generation OS Clustered Data Ontap 8.1 (which is
now beginning to gain crucial customer acceptance); to the debt ceiling gridlock
in June 2011, which froze many government organizations' budgets (this likely
impacted NetApp more than its competitors); to the company's continuing
overreliance on a limited number of large accounts; and to the company's
relatively slow penetration, compared with its competitors, of regions outside
of the United States and Western Europe.
Although deficient as a disk-to-disk appliance and too
expensive for expansive archiving, from the technology platform perspective,
NetApp's Data Ontap platform - as delivered under NetApp's own brand or under
other OEM brands - remains the most widely deployed in the NAS/unified storage
arenas. NetApp (along with Oracle and its ZFS Storage appliance) also stands out
by providing a single OS platform for both NAS and SAN support and both primary
and backup/archive usage, whereas EMC and other storage vendors have to resort
to multiple OS platforms to compete at the same level. On the other hand, EMC
and other vendors could argue that each of their platforms is more optimized for
certain workload characteristics and may do a better job than NetApp's "one
platform fits all" approach. The key continues to lie in the management layer -
in the ways in which those various platforms can be tightly integrated and
managed by a common, intuitive tool. EMC's Unisphere has been a good initial
step with positive user feedback, but all vendors with various storage platforms
will face continuing challenges in the common management area.
Other Notable Vendors
Below the top two vendors, the distant
third is IBM,
which earned a 3.3% share (down from 5% in 2011), with a 21.1% revenue decline,
largely due to its transitions from ECB disk storage solutions sourced from
NetApp to ECB disk storage solutions based on IBM intellectual property; also,
IBM's SONAS was unable to keep up with the scale-out NAS market growth.
The No. 4 vendor,
HP, rebranded its NAS
offerings as StoreEasy. These systems, based on Windows Server 2012, became
increasingly appealing to the entry and midrange NAS market in 2012, resulting
in a 60.1% increase in revenue and a share gain of 0.6%.
the No. 5 vendor, increased its share from 1.4% to 1.8% and grew its NAS revenue
by 55.9%. The company's R&D investments in its Sun ZFS Storage Appliance in
conjunction with the formation of a dedicated sales force is producing increased
market traction in the general-purpose NAS market supporting Oracle software and
as a backup appliance that has been optimized for Oracle's engineered systems,
such as the Exadata Database Machine.