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We're not on the Gartner Magic Quadrant? Just imagine our concern, says HDS

Magicians might want to rethink what goes in their cauldron, maybe

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Facing up to exclusion from Gartner’s all-flash array Magic Quadrant, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has come out fighting.

HDS ships an all-flash array (AFA) in the form of Hitachi Accelerated Flash Modules inside its VSP array, thus gaining access to all its VSP data management features. Yet this falls foul of Gartner’s AFA definition rule for Magic Quadrant consideration; the AFA must be a standalone AFA.

An HDS spokeswoman says about the AFA MQ: “HDS won’t be on it. Neither will Dell nor half-a-dozen other vendor solutions that, under different circumstances, would be included. Why? Because Gartner has set a criteria around the 'All Flash Array' that HDS doesn’t participate in.”

The Gartner analysts’ criteria for solid state array (SSA) are these:

Considering the potential disruptive nature of SSAs on the general-purpose ECB disk storage market, Gartner has elected to report only on vendors that qualify as an SSA. We do not consider solid-state drive (SSD)-only general-purpose disk array configurations in this research. To meet these inclusion criteria, SSA vendors must have a dedicated model and name, and the product cannot be configured with hard-disk drives (HDDs) at any time.

ECB means external controller-based arrays: networked arrays, in other words.

HDS attacks Gartner for not reflecting what it says are customer concerns:

Hitachi doesn’t offer a system that is an Only Flash Array. They don’t get OFA-only concerns from customers. Customers ask for a solution, and HDS offers one that responds to their needs.

Now HDS finds itself, along with Dell and others, having to market against Gartner, whose AFA MQ is now, as it were, written in stone. It has chosen not to diss the AFA MQ openly but to say its AFA is better than competing products: “HDS’ approach to flash beats competitors’ solutions in how it’s built to work seamlessly with IT - a far cry from the disruptive migrations other vendors create that end up putting businesses behind.”

It also claims it is a market leader: “In Q4 2013, customers came to HDS more than anyone else in the market—the company shipped over 19.5 petabytes of flash. In Q1 this year, organisations deployed more HDS flash than from any other vendor.”

This exclusion of HDS and Dell from the Gartner AFA MQ has caused, in our view, serious long-term damage to Gartner’s reputation and prospects inside HDS and Dell. They might be two exclusions that Gartner lives to regret. ®

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