All-flash arrays (AFA) are grabbing market share in EMEA almost as fast as traditional hard disk drives are losing it, according to the latest figures from IDC.
In its EMEA external storage systems tracker, IDC said Q1 revenue in the market fell overall by 4.9 per cent annually to $1.64bn (£1.16bn). The capacity of storage shipped over the same period fell 3.5 per cent, the analyst added.
But while the overall market fell year on year, the AFA market rocketed. During Q1, AFA revenue rocketed 96 per cent annually to $109.9m, taking its share of the whole market from six per cent a year ago to 13 per cent now.
Meanwhile, the hard disk drive market saw revenue slump 23 per cent annually to $928.6m, seeing its market share fall nine points to 43 per cent.
Revenue for hybrid flash arrays rose four per cent over the same period, prompting its market share figure to climb slightly from 40 per cent to 43 per cent.
IDC described the performance of AFAs as "the only vivid note in yet another lacklustre quarter", which it said was blighted by unstable emerging markets and "negative seasonality effect".
Silvia Cosso, senior research analyst at IDC, said: "The additional slowdown is due to the portfolio transition by major vendors, but also due to investments put on hold as they wait to see how the large acquisitions announced last year will materialise. On a positive note, the exchange rate effect was milder than in the previous quarters."
Flash technology has emerged as a prominent buzzword among vendors in the channel in recent years. Aggressive start-ups began banging the drum for the technology a few years ago, followed by giants such as EMC following suit. NetApp closed its acquisition of flash firm SolidFire in February, in a move it claims cements its commitment to the space.
Although the overall market is showing a significant boost in interest in flash, Gardner Systems' technical director Paul Stringfellow said more education is required to completely convince customers about the merits of flash.
"It's a leap of faith," he said. "We are seeing people saying 'I am not sure it's for me because it's a bit pricey'. But I think an education piece [is needed]. People are doing flash where they've got an absolute requirement who are saying 'I really need that high performance'.
"So they are leaping into flash. But we're at the point where others are saying flash looks a bit more expensive on paper, because it does. So there's education that the channel needs to say 'yes, but I can squeeze so much more data into this kind of thing [flash]."
IDC's senior research analyst Archana Venkatraman agreed that this sort of customer attitude existed when flash first burst onto the scene.
"European organisations did not initially perceive the need to speed up their applications, apart from a few high-performance workloads that needed to operate in real-time," she told CRN. "And they were skeptical because of the high acquisition costs, poorly understood benefits beyond performance acceleration, and the fact that the technology was only available from start-up vendors.
"But all that is changing with all well-known storage vendors offering flash technologies. Besides, enterprises have invested in a lot of new mobile-native, cloud-native applications that demand high performance and low latency, so the move to flash was inevitable."
She added that while IDC does not provide a specific UK breakdown, the country is "certainly is one of the leading countries in Europe adopting flash".
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