Monday, July 27, 2009

Checking out what Gartner thinks Equallogic vs Lefthand

So the first mention I can find of equallogic from Gartner is in this 2006 report.

The graph places them here.

The Text reads: The PS series is a modular block storage system with iSCSI connectivity and a peer-to-peer topology that enables capacity, performance and connectivity to scale linearly. Controller-based snapshot, remote copy and automatic load-balancing features are included at no additional charge. The EqualLogic PS400E, with dual controllers and 10.5 B of SATA disk in a 3U high package, makes it an attractive in situations where space and power consumption are important considerations. EqualLogic's early support of 15K rpm SAS disks in its PS3800XV increases performance relative to SATA disks and, compared with FC disks, reduces costs while simplifying the back-end design. Messaging emphasizes performance, ease of installation, ease of management, a rich feature set, easy scalability and low cost. Not charging for value-added features and a three-year return policy on failed disks lowers storage TCOs.

The first mention of LeftHand is in the 2H07 report here.

Equallogic has increased in the visionaries quadrant, and increased in its ability to execute. This is the year the Equallogic was purchased by Dell, so it kind of makes things fuzzy.

Here are the listed strengths and cautions.
  • EqualLogic was the pure-play iSCSI market leader in 2006 in terms of vendor revenue. It continued to grow fast in 2007, has an installed base of more than 3,500 users and has about 500 active value-added resellers (VARs).
  • Its PS Series is among the easiest to install in the industry, and most of its customers install the storage systems themselves. It offers a scale-out, pay-as-you-grow architecture and automatic load balancing among multiple nodes, and its standard pricing includes many features, such as thin provisioning, snapshots, remote replication and automated Multipath I/O management.
  • The pending acquisition by Dell will remove company viability issue in customers' minds.
  • Although EqualLogic has made progress in penetrating large accounts, its success story has been mainly confined to small and midsize environments.
  • Productwise, the PS Series doesn't natively support the FC protocol or file access protocols and cannot be leveraged by customers who prefer unified storage.
  • Although EqualLogic sells in 30 countries, international revenue contribution remained small at 18% at the end of September 2007.
  • Its relatively heavy reliance on its top-10 channel partners (about 40% of its revenue) may be problematic in the future after Dell completes the acquisition, because Dell's historical direct sales model has strained its relationship with the distribution channel.
Lefthand is placed as more visionary but not executing as much.

LeftHand Networks

  • LeftHand Networks is an emerging disk storage company that sells its branded Network Storage Module (NSM) iSCSI disk storage system and packages its SAN/iQ software with IBM, HP and Dell industry standard servers to build physical iSCSI storage SANs.
  • As an alternative to building physical iSCSI SANs, LeftHand Networks will license its software to run in an ESX virtual machine, enabling customers to build virtual SANs.
  • SAN/iQ functionality is the same whether running on a physical server or in a virtual machine. It includes centralized management, snapshots, asynchronous remote copy, thin provisioning and online volume migration. SAN/iQ clusters can include physical and virtual NSMs in a single logical shared storage pool, implement software RAID and support geoclusters.
  • LeftHand Networks claims linear performance scalability of SAN/iQ clusters, because they grow from three to 30 nodes and notes that customers have built SAN/iQ clusters of more than 100 nodes.
  • Running on Dell, HP or IBM server hardware enables LeftHand Networks customers to take advantage of these companies' hardware support and LeftHand Networks for software support.
  • The growth of LeftHand Networks' revenue and the iSCSI market have put the vendor on the radar screens of its larger and more established competitors.
  • Dell, with its recent acquisition of EqualLogic, is the most obvious strategic threat to LeftHand because it owns competitive technology, has low-cost sales and support models, and has EqualLogic's channel partners if it can keep them and a direct sales model if it cannot keep them.
  • LeftHand Networks needs to keep its SAN/iQ competitive and its hardware and software products complementary.
  • LeftHand Networks needs to maintain its revenue growth to remain relevant.
  • Keeping its channel productive and its installed base loyal as it grows will present major challenges for LeftHand Networks.
And finally the 2H08 report here

In this chart it does not yet show the acquisition of LeftHand by HP. Dell has greatly improved its visionaryness by the acquisition of Equallogic and still has very high execution.

Here are the comments on DELL (EqualLogic):

  • Dell was the third-largest worldwide midrange block disk array vendor in revenue market share for the period of 3Q07 through 2Q08. The newly acquired EqualLogic has provided Dell with innovative storage technology, as well as the leading position in the iSCSI SAN market with a 34% revenue market share in 1H08. The EqualLogic business grew more than 70% in 1H08, representing almost 16% of Dell's total midrange disk storage revenue.
  • Dell is reaching out to the distribution channels to broaden its market beyond its server installed base by offering more-aggressive pricing. It has added storage specialists and increased its investment in professional storage services.
  • Its EqualLogic series is among the easiest to install in the industry and offers automatic load balancing among multiple nodes. Dell continues the all-inclusive pricing model to drive the affordability of storage for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). New enhancements in 2008 include application-aware data protection support for Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and Virtual Servers, as well as VMware Site Recovery Manager.
  • Dell/EMC-branded storage declined almost 7% in 1H08, partly because of customers waiting for the summer launch of CX4 series. It is likely, but not conclusive at this point, that it was also impacted by EqualLogic storage.
  • Dell will face increased iSCSI competition, especially from HP, which announced its pending acquisition of LeftHand Networks. Dell offers five iSCSI platforms with some overlapping markets. This could be confusing for potential customers.
  • Although Dell was able to keep 50% of the EqualLogic business through the channels, it has lost some previous EqualLogic channel partners and will have to continue its efforts to gain channel's trust and avoid conflicts.
And then for LeftHand (It appears to have remained stable in the visionary and execution)

  • HP on 1 October 2008 announced its intention to acquire LeftHand Networks for $360 million in cash, thereby removing any questions about company viability.
  • LeftHand Networks has a large and growing installed base that in 4Q08 includes more than 3,000 customers and 11,000 installations. The high double-digit percentage of revenue growth attributable to repeat business suggests a high level of customer satisfaction within the LeftHand Networks installed base.
  • The SAN/IQ software implements a scale-out iSCSI disk storage infrastructure that can include a mix of physical and virtual servers and includes such high-value-added functionality as thin provisioning, snapshots and asynchronous remote copy.
  • HP's acquisition of LeftHand Networks will create management, development, marketing and sales instabilities that will take time to resolve. During this transition period, maintaining sales momentum could be a challenge.
  • Dell's success with EqualLogic will put further pressure on HP as it assimilates LeftHand Networks.
  • Retaining LeftHand Networks channel partners that compete against HP in the server, storage or professional services marketplaces could prove difficult.

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