October 24, 2014

Storage for Server Virtualization: I Need Numbers

As I work to build out my Storage for Server Virtualization seminar content, one thing becomes clear: I need numbers. The most-common question at events like this is, “how many people are using this or that?” It’s wrong to answer those questions anecdotally: Although I personally know people using NetApp, EqualLogic, HP, and EMC storage for their ESX environments, does this make them the market leaders? So I’m putting out a call for numbers: Please help me fill in these blanks!

Some Online Research

Looking around online, I have found some useful data:

  1. Dell claims their EqualLogic systems lead with over 14% of the market according to IDC. They base this on a September 2010 study, “IDC Multiclient Report:  Server Virtualization 2010″ and include the chart at right from that study
  2. Other references to that study (including this IDC press release) claim the following:
    1. “23% of all servers shipped in 2014 will be actively supporting virtual machine technology”
    2. “more than 70% of all server workloads installed on new shipments in 2014 will reside in a virtual machine”
    3. “More than $19 billion will be spent on server hardware in support of these applications”
    4. “IDC estimates that these 2.2 million physical servers will in reality become as many as 18.4 million logical servers with customers deploying an average of 8.5 virtual machines per physical host by 2014″
  3. Some ESG charts available from EMC suggests a different story:
    1. EMC leads with 25% of the market for “the primary vendor” for storage for virtual servers
    2. HP is next at 17%, followed by IBM and Dell, both at 16%
    3. Among VMware users, EMC lead with 40% to IBM’s 20%, HP’s 12%, and Dell’s 9%

Unanswered Questions

While it’s nice to see the vendors listed, I’m much more interested in answering “what are other people doing” questions. Where’s the hard data answering the following questions:

  1. What percentage of servers are virtual? How does this break across industries or for production versus test/dev?
  2. What is the actual market share or connect rate for the various storage protocols (FC, iSCSI, NFS, SAS, FCoE, etc)?
  3. How much virtual server storage is connected to a network (SAN, NAS) versus direct-attached (DAS)?
  4. Is networked storage uptake accelerating or slowing?
  5. What rate of usage do advanced storage features like VAAI have?
  6. Are folks booting VM guests from the SAN?
  7. How much are people spending on storage for virtual servers versus the server or network hardware or virtualization software?
  8. What’s the breakdown of usage for the various storage mapping methods? (Raw devices, VMFS, PVSCSI, iSCSI in the guest)
  9. Are folks using blades or conventional servers?
  10. What about 10 GbE and FCoE?

Stephen’s Stance

Perhaps IDC, ESG, or others would be willing to share their research with me so I can use it in my seminar. Or perhaps a vendor highlighted here (Dell, EMC, HP, NetApp, or IBM) would like to share the reports with me to enhance the session. Either way, it would be great for end users to learn some real numbers instead of relying on press releases and sales pitches.