Pure increases its storage market share, but Huawei has increased more – Blocks and Files


Pure Storage released a chart showing that it has gained enterprise storage market share since 2014, while five incumbent vendors – HPE, NetApp, Hitachi, IBM and Dell EMC – lost share. But Huawei isn’t shown, and we believe it gained even more market share over the period.

The chart is based on figures from IDC’s Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker report through Q4 2021. IDC made vendor market shares public through Q2 2021, then only provided them to paying subscribers.

Market share percentages were normalized to zero at the starting point of the chart, then positive and negative changes, in 0.035 market share increments, applied quarter by quarter through the end of 2021.

Pure says the graph shows changes from 2014 to 2021, making it an eight-year view.

A Pure spokesperson told us, “Our competitors, especially Dell, like to talk about their growth in flash and their total market share. But what they don’t talk about is that it comes at the expense of their legacy business. They’re not growing their market share — in many cases, their external storage business is losing share. It’s because they’re changing their product line from spinning disk to flash – we’re competing with both. In the meantime, Pure continues to grow and take share at the expense of our competitors.

Reading the graph directly, it seems that the changes in absolute terms are quite small. But from the numbers in the popup box, 0.035 indicates 3.5% market share, so Pure gained 5% and the others lost varying percentages.

This makes 27.5% of market share lost by these five suppliers, Pure gaining 5%. Where did the remaining 22.5% go? We think a lot of them went to Huawei rather than other vendors in general (IDC’s Rest of Market category).

We believe this because we tracked IDC’s quarterly reports on enterprise storage systems from Q3 2016, when vendor numbers were public, through Q2 2021 – not exactly matching the period of the graph of Pure but covering a large part. These numbers included Huawei, which Pure’s chart does not. Here is our graph showing changes in vendor revenue over this period:

Pure graph

This shows that Pure has the lowest market share of the major vendors. Dell leads by far, followed by HPE, NetApp, Huawei then Hitachi, IBM and Pure.

We calculated the market shares of the suppliers at the start of our graph in Q3 2016 and at the end point in Q2 2021, then we calculated their evolution over the period:

Pure graph

Only Pure and Huawei gained market share over the period, with Huawei gaining the most. These numbers differ from those in Pure’s chart. One of the contributing reasons will be that the time periods do not match exactly, so Pure’s starting numbers are different. Another could be that IDC has revised its numbers, such as total market size as well as individual vendor amounts per year, which is not unheard of.

We notice that our market share changes are not zero – the sum of the numbers in the changes column gives us -4.61%. There are errors somewhere here, and it may be due to retroactive IDC number changes or rounding errors. Hopefully, the overview is still reasonably accurate, and indeed, it largely agrees with Pure’s chart in terms of direction.

So Dell, HPE, Hitachi, IBM and NetApp all lost share and Pure gained 1.46% – not much, as Huawei was up 8.98%.

A Pure spokesperson said, “Over the past seven years, Pure has been one of two vendors to enjoy strong and consistent market share growth across all storage thanks to our ability to take cuts from legacy storage vendors who cannibalize their existing install base.

Sure, Huawei storage isn’t available in the US, but it’s elsewhere and has grown sixfold from Pure in global market share in the period from Q3 2016 to Q2 2021 – if our calculations are correct. In North America, and probably in Europe too, Pure has beaten its competitors in market share.


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