As I write this, the UK is in shock as the surprise results from the general election are reported. Instead of the neck-and-neck battle between the two leading parties that everyone expected, the Conservatives swept in with a convincing win and overall majority.
So, since they won, the Conservatives must be the most popular party, right? Well… no. They garnered just 37% of the votes cast. What about the “minor” parties? The UK Independence Party (UKIP), for example, took 13% of the popular vote, but gained only one seat, compared to the conservatives 331 seats (some might point to this as a saving grace of the system, but I digress…).
If you assume for a moment that voters are rational (I know. A stretch, but bear with me.), and that each person voted based on his or her best interests, you can see that for most people (63% in fact), the winner of this “popularity contest” is not, in fact, the best party to support their interests and meet their needs.
“What has all this got to do with servers?”, you ask.
Well, industry analysts Gartner just released their first Magic Quadrant (MQ) report for “Modular Servers” (Magic Quadrant for Modular Servers, May 4th 2015, ref G00258233) – this is a new take on the server market that supersedes their previous “Magic Quadrant for Blade Servers" report which was last published in 2013. (If you have access to gartner.com, the direct link to the research document is HERE). This new Magic Quadrant expands the scope of prior MQs and reflects an evolving market where blade servers, multi-node servers, high-performance computing (HPC) systems, supercomputers and IT service provider designs are no longer clearly differentiated.
These Magic Quadrant reports can be very useful, but we know from experience that some customers look at them in a very simplistic way and decide that they should only consider vendors that fall in the “Leader” category – that’s the upper right quadrant. Many factors work to define a leader, of course, but market share, and breadth of portfolio are two of the biggest influences. However, if you are a customer with specific requirements, these factors have almost no bearing on whether any particular vendor’s products are best for you and your needs.
So, for many customers, the fact that a vendor is in the “niche” category should not be seen as negative in any way. I’ve blogged about this before, as have my colleagues, but suffice to say that it’s the vendor who builds a product that really meets your needs, delivers on what’s promised and provides the support to make you successful that you should look for, not simply the one that sold more units (to whom, where?) or has a bigger portfolio (relevant to you?).
Frankly you’ll get the most value from Gartner’s report if you look beyond the picture and read the detailed commentary for each vendor. If you do, what will you learn about HDS?
Gartner’s New Magic Quadrant Recognizes HDS’ Growing Success, Differentiation, in Servers
Given the expanded scope of this new Magic Quadrant compared the previous blades only MQ, you might have expected our position relative to our competitors would suffer. After all, we are very targeted as to which markets we address and what products we build. In fact, our position improved slightly in both “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision” while many vendor’s positions have relatively worsened (notably Cisco).
There is clear recognition of our growing market success. Gartner states, “…the results [of HDS’ solution strategy] are being recognized in the market”, and “Hitachi’s server sales are improving outside Japan”. (Actually our blade server sales are growing at a rate almost five times the industry average.).
Our global execution capabilities are called out, saying: “Hitachi has expanded their pre- and post-sales focus in North America, EMEA and a number of APJ geographies, helping the company gain ground as a strategic partner and resulting in improved market presence that will strengthen local viability”.
Gartner's report also mentions our unique server differentiation, and refers to two specific features, Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP) which enables scaling in modular fashion from 2 to 8 sockets) and Logical Partitioning (LPAR) - features which set Hitachi servers apart from the competition.
One target market for HDS is singled out, too: Gartner states that Hitachi servers are “ a strong choice for complex workloads like SAP HANA”. In fact we just wrapped up a very exciting week as a sponsor of SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando, Florida. You can read more about HDS and SAP from our own Hu Yoshida HERE or Intel’s Jim Fister HERE.
And how about Gartner’s “cautions”? Well, they are largely related to our market share relative to larger server vendors, but the good news is that, unlike in politics, the vendor you “vote for" is the one you get!