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Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure

Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what

Whiptail XLR8r appliance

A recent report based on views gathered from resellers reveals Cisco reps are enthusiastically selling Invicta all-flash arrays as both stand-alone and UCS converged arrays against EMC's XtremIO and Pure Storage.

William Blair's Data Networking and Storage Tracker findings are based on "in-depth interviews with 41 US and European (UK, Western Europe) resellers."

The first quarter 2014 edition finds continued robust demand for Cisco’s UCS offering.

The tracker says:

Despite Cisco’s public commentary about not wanting to leverage its Whiptail acquisition (renamed Invicta) as a stand-alone enterprise storage system, our industry contacts indicate that the Cisco salesforce is enthusiastically selling the all-flash-array as a stand-alone platform and competing directly against vendors such as Pure and EMC/XtremIO in the field.

Cisco is also bundling the platform with its UCS server line as a converged infrastructure play. Over time, we expect Cisco to attempt to displace both EMC/Vblock and NetApp/Flexpod deployments with its UCS/Whiptail converged offering as the company aims to address new markets and find growth.

Other suppliers

As in the previous quarter, the tracker noted that many Dell sales reps have left the company for newer storage upstarts such as Nimble and also claims that the company is laying off its own salespeople as it tries to cut costs. This is good news for Dell's channel.

  • CommVault continues to do better than its legacy competitors —IBM/TSM and Symantec — despite recent releases from both companies that represent incremental improvements.
  • EMC continues as worthy CommVault competition with its recently refreshed midrange Data Domain appliances and version 7 of the Avamar platform. ... Avamar product boasts technical improvements over the prior version but continue to lack high-end features for Oracle and VMware environments that are only available on Simpana.
    • ViPR is enjoying a warm market reception with clients looking to consolidate multiple disparate provisioning and storage management resources.
    • According to the resellers, Data Domain sales could be peaking as the dedicated deduplication appliance market may not retain its vigour.
    • The XtremIO all-flash-array is still generally in the tyre-kicking stage, respondents said. The current version of XtremIO offers limited scalability and unimpressive density (can be expanded to only four nodes or roughly 40TB) and still lacks snapshot functionality.
  • Actifio continues to make headway, especially among smaller accounts, buoyed by its recent favourable positioning as a visionary in Gartner’s magic quadrant for enterprise backup and recovery software.
  • The tracker reports a sharp increase in the number of deals in which flash-centric vendors are participating, including Nimble Storage, Pure Storage, Nutanix, Tegile, SolidFire, and Tintri.
  • For Fusion-io the NVMe standard — which is the communication protocol used between the CPU and the flash media — is gaining momentum with backing from vendors such as Intel, Micron, LSI, Samsung, Western Digital, and Seagate. This puts Fusion’s proprietary protocol (which employs software in the CPU talking to a FPGA-based card) in an uphill battle against the majority of market participants.
  • A key advantage of NVMe is serviceability, given the hot-swappable nature of supported cards, something not possible with proprietary cards like those of Fusion-io.
  • NetApp:
    • Specific feedback on NetApp suggests that the company’s sales reps are scrambling more than usual this quarter and that the company is offering deep discounts.
    • The tracker continues to hear of widespread sale defections and of multiple EMC/Isilon and Nimble displacements of NetApp deployments.
    • It remains concerned over the sustainability of Engenio’s OEM revenues (down 23 per cent year-over-year in the prior quarter), as customers such as Oracle and IBM have been transitioning to selling homegrown systems in place of third-party systems, and Teradata’s revenue growth has slowed considerably.
  • Nimble Storage:
    • Nimble continues to fire on all cylinders and is displacing both Dell (Compellent and EqualLogic) and lower-end NetApp deployments in the field thanks to Nimble’s compelling price and performance advantages.
    • Nimble’s key deficiencies are its lack of Fibre Channel, CIFS, and NFS support, also Oracle snapshot management integration.
    • It should deliver Fibre Channel connectivity for its systems sometime in calendar 2014.

This Storage Tracker's findings are based on views in the reseller community. ®

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