IDC confirmed Dell’s claim that it has moved into the No. 1 spot in iSCSI SAN market share following its $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic. According to the IDC quarterly storage numbers for the first quarter released today, Dell passed EMC and NetApp to take the lead with 27.7 percent of the iSCSI market. Overall, IDC pegged iSCSI as accounting for 6.1 percent of the overall external disk storage revenue — up from 4.1 percent a year ago and 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007.
It appears that a good chunk of the market share Dell gained came at the expense of its storage partner EMC. EMC, which co-markets Clariion systems with Dell, slipped from 18.2 percent to 15 percent of iSCSI market share in one quarter. Does that mean Dell customers are buying EqualLogic systems instead of Clariion AX iSCSI boxes? Maybe, although Dell still accounts for about one-third of overall Clariion sales.
NetApp increased its iSCSI share from 18 percent to 20.5 percent to move ahead of EMC while slipping behind Dell. No other major vendor has more than 4.7 percent of the iSCSI market, with the “other” (all vendors except for Dell, EMC, NetApp, HP, IBM, Hitachi, and Sun) category at 29.3 percent – nearly twice as much as “others” have of the Fibre Channel market. The others’ iSCSI share actually came down – it was 40.1 percent in the fourth quarter — reflecting the shift of EqualLogic’s revenue from others to Dell.
It’s a good bet that LeftHand Networks sits in fourth place overall with a large piece of the others’ share. LeftHand was considered a close second to EqualLogic among private iSCSI vendors before Dell scooped up EqualLogic. LeftHand remains private and we don’t know its financials, but marketing VP Larry Cormier said it is picking up 200 to 300 customers a quarter. . .some of those because EqualLogic is no longer independent. “Some shops just won’t buy Dell,” he said.
In any case, with iSCSI drivers such as server virtualization and the eventual emergence of 10-Gig Ethernet fueling interest and the vendor landscape changing, the iSCSI space will be interesting to watch over the next year. . .just as converged Fibre Channel/Ethernet networks may blunt iSCSI’s encroachment into the enterprise.