If the enterprise storage market was the auto market, who would be who?*
EMC is Mercedes-Benz
It’s big. It’s expensive. It’s powerful. Lots of folks say it’s the best, but some think the emperor isn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. Either way, you know you want one. But what’s up with all the weird models and brands? Even the low-end models cost twice as much as their competitors, and it’s awfully hard to justify the price when there are so many competitors running around… Some thought the purchase of a low-end, mass-market company** would drag the brand down, but it led to weird synergies that we’re just starting to see, let alone figure out.
HDS is Toyota/Lexus
The top models are pricy, but not as bad as the big guy. The low-end ones are killer, but not the super value they once were. They’re efficient, powerful, and luxurious, offering everything you might want and lots that no one else has. But they just don’t have the same cachet. No matter how great it is or how much it cost, everyone has a sneaking suspicion that you cheaped-out or just picked up the first thing you took for a test drive.
IBM is General Motors
They once ruled the whole market and were the standard of the world. They invented or popularized pretty much everything in the industry, had massive market share, and commanded huge margins. After some stumbles, they’re back with solid offerings and a touch of real innovation. But folks just don’t seem to give them any credit anymore. Even though they still sell like crazy, the glamour is gone. Now it’s time for rebuilding, and no one can tell what will happen: Will they rule again or fail completely?
HP is Ford
That other company thinks they invented everything, but insiders know that this one actually did. Sure they don’t rule the market right now, but they’ve been there a few times before. Some of their best technology is borrowed from acquisitions, but who’s to say that’s bad? Put it all together and you have a real force in the market, one that’s rapidly gaining while everyone else isn’t looking.
Sun is Chrysler
No one has fanboys like these guys. Sure they never really ruled the world, but they brought out wave after wave of killer products for decades. Everyone counted them out, but they always came back with something interesting. Then the realities of the business world hit. Will they have yet another act or is this really the end?**
Dell is Hyundai
They have a wide range of offerings, ranging from good economical models to near luxury, but people often overlook or ignore them. Maybe that’s because so much of their business is done with the kind of folks who just aren’t fanatical about this stuff, or maybe it’s because they weren’t even in this market until (relatively) recently. But watch out: Their new stuff is on the rise, and they might put forth a real challenge to the market leaders soon!
NetApp is Honda
They’re not as cheap as they used to be, but they’ve shown that you can do a lot without over-extending yourself. They steadfastly refuse to match what everyone else is doing, sticking to what they know best and adding enhancements until it becomes real competition, even for the biggest guys. In fact, if you asked them privately, everyone else would point to this little company as their biggest threat!
3PAR is BMW
Ask anyone who owns one and they’ll wax poetic about how great it is. Sure it’s expensive, but it’s just as good as the market leaders, if not better! But they’re still a little company trying to make the most of just a few core components. Everyone is amazed they’ve remained independent this long, and analysts keep predicting they’ll sell out very soon!
BlueArc is Jaguar
They’ve only got a few models and they offer killer performance at a premium price. A certain kind of customer would never buy anything else, but the rest of the world just scratches their heads and wonders who’s going to buy them and when.
Compellent is Mazda
They did some strange things way back when but the model has proved itself. They may not be right for everyone, but they’re perfect for a certain price point. Even though their market share is small, they continue to get an inordinate amount of press due to innovative features and high performance. But can this little player survive alone?
Pillar is Tesla
Awesome! That’s all anyone seems to say, since they’re doing crazy innovative things. But it’s awfully hard to find anyone who owns one, and folks seem to pay more attention to the investors than the product.
Xiotech is Nissan
Even folks who own them aren’t generally all that excited, but everyone tells you they’re solid and affordable. But they’re working on some things that are totally off the wall and might have a second wind yet!
Nexsan is Kia
They’re cheap and solid and just keep raking in the dough. But the press and analysts always ignore them…
NEC is Mitsubishi
Did you forget they made this stuff? Seriously, they’re selling well and some folks just love them. Really! You should take a look! Hey, wait, where are you going?
Texas Memory Systems is Lotus
You’re more likely to encounter them working with another vendor, but they offer totally killer performance if you’ve got the money. But how long can a tiny niche vendor like this last?
Violin is Spyker
Who? Ask the man who owns one…
* This is all in fun – let’s not get our panties in a bunch!
**Yes, we’re ignoring obvious mismatches in ownership