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SSA market to explode over next 12 months – Gartner ranks top vendors

25 Jul 17

Within just the next 12 months, solid-state arrays (SSAs) are set to improve in performance by a factor of 10, doubling in density and cost-effectiveness.

That’s according to new research from Gartner, asserting this will effectively change the dynamics of the storage market.

Furthermore, Gartner predicts 50 percent of data centres to be using SSAs for high-performance computing and big data workloads by 2021, a massive increase from today’s less than 10 percent.

To help provide some context and to help IT leaders better understand SSA’ vendors positioning in the market, Gartner has formed a Magic Quadrant of vendors that sell into the enterprise end-user market with specific branded SSAs.

Of the 11 vendors in the Quadrant, seven were deemed leaders, two visionaries, one niche player and one challenger. Dell EMC received the highest score in regards to ability to execute, while Pure Storage topped the list in regards to completeness of vision.

As the complete package, one can argue that Pure Storage is better placed, however they are extremely close and Gartner asserts a vendor's position on the Magic Quadrant should not be equated with its product's attractiveness or suitability for every client's requirements.

Gartner did not consider solid-state drive (SSD)-only general-purpose disk array configurations in this research, focusing on the criteria that SSA vendors must have a dedicated model and name for an SSA, generally available by 4 March 2017, and the product cannot be configured with hard-disk drives (HDDs) at any time.

An insatiable demand for storage has resulted in heightened demand for a more capable high-performance tier that can deliver low-latency storage more reliably in order to create tangible benefits.

Gartner affirms as high-performance storage demand explodes, it will require even more storage administration and deeper analytics, emphasising the perpetual need for storage efficiency, resiliency and manageability to counter this trend.

This is echoed in the massive growth experienced by the overall SSA market in 2016 – 72 percent growth for the year with a total revenue of $4.6 billion.

The purchase price of SSAs has also continued to drop, in total by at least 40 percent in the last 18 months which is undoubtedly contributing to the demand.

Most of the traditional incumbent and system vendors have transitioned their overall storage array businesses to SSAs, where more than 50 percent of new storage array sales are SSAs.

According to Gartner, the ability of SSAs to share data between many applications and servers without the requirement to move data or storage, or to create islands of isolated storage, has improved data centre agility.

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