IDC: Dell #1 in HCI

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For the last several years, we at Dell, like no other vendor, have been extremely passionate about modernizing IT infrastructure using converged and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), so it’s especially gratifying when significant validation comes our way.

IDC revealed Dell is, yet again, the undisputed leader of the Converged Systems market in the second quarter of 2017 with a 31.1 percent market share; nearly double that of the next highest competitor. Driving most of that growth has been our HCI platforms.

It’s also exciting that Dell has also taken over the top spot in HCI sales, overtaking a respected partner who is also a competitor—Nutanix.

More than the competitive nature where we each take pride in our position—the most important thing to the team and I is something simple: customers choosing Dell is something that matters to us personally, and something we take pride in. THANK YOU.

We attribute this milestone to the continued strong growth of the entire Dell HCI portfolio. In fact, the unique approach we have taken to HCI with both a VMware focused and vertically integrated HCI approach along with a set horizontal multi-abstraction HCI set of offers is one of the reasons customers have chosen Dell for HCI.

That said – the largest single factor in the growth that resulted in taking the #1 position was the success of the Dell VxRail offer, which continues to have astronomical growth rates.    

In addition to VxRail’s stratospheric growth, we’ve seen growth rates for VxRack Systems, vSAN Ready Nodes and ScaleIO Ready Nodes that are enormous, and Dell XC which is built in partnership with Nutanix continues to grow at an amazing clip. The HCI market is not a zero-sum game, and we’re still in the first few pitches of the first inning when it comes to simplified infrastructure and the foundations of cloud with HCI.

Let’s talk statistics. Dell’s share of the HCI segment increased to 29 percent in the quarter, with year-over-year growth of 149 percent–that’s more than 3x the market growth!

Thanks to customers that are now pursuing a systems level approach to IT infrastructure, IDC reports that HCI platform sales grew 48.5 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, accounting for $763.4 million in sales. Collectively, that represents 24.2 percent of the total converged systems market, and HCI is clearly that fastest growing segment of the converged systems market.

Now, claiming huge growth rates is one thing when in absolute terms the numbers are small. Think about it for a moment – what the tale of the tape tells you is that Dell is now growing 3x faster than the one of the fastest growing markets in infrastructure and we’re doing it on large numbers that are measured in many tens of millions of dollars per quarter. Something big is going on.


Driving that unprecedented amount of IT infrastructure transition are some irrefutable facts echoed by additional, leading analyst firms – and these are the “why” behind the “what” of the story of HCI:

  • Enterprise Strategy Group finds that 87 percent of organizations that have implemented HCI platform say they are now more agile.
  • Wikibon reports that companies that implemented HCI platforms have reduced their total cost of ownership compared to a legacy storage area network (SAN) by 30 percent. For those organizations that prefer to stay with a rack-based system architecture, Wikibon also found that our VMware VxRack Flex systems cost half as much as a traditional SAN to acquire and provide six-times faster time to value.
  • While public cloud has an increasingly important part to play in the enterprise people are realizing that it’s not fundamentally less costly than HCI. The Evaluator Group estimates that in certain used case it is up to 400 percent more expensive to employ Amazon Web Services (AWS) than it is to acquire and deploy a Dell VxRail appliance. It’s not about public cloud vs. private cloud. Cloud is an operating model, not a place—and HCI is a fundamentally simpler building block that is the foundation in on premises enterprise clouds.

Given these types of outcomes, it’s little wonder that IT organizations are moving rapidly to embrace modern HCI platforms. In fact, 451 Research reports that 60 percent of the organizations it tracks have either implemented an HCI platform already or will do so in the next two years. The reason for this is that savvy IT organizations are on what we refer to as MAT journey that consists of three phases.

  • Modernize: HCI and converged infrastructure provide a unique capability to leverage pre-integrated systems that allows internal IT organizations to respond quickly to changing conditions because the IT environment is software-defined. Internal IT organizations can now be as agile as any cloud service provider while minimizing costs.
  • Automate: Once the IT environment is software-defined, IT organizations can automate more functions. This frees up the time needed to focus on innovative IT projects versus continually struggling to keep jerry-rigged systems up and running.
  • Transform: Once IT services become more automated, an IT organization is empowered to transform operational processes. An internal IT team can manage IT at unprecedented levels of scale, and the individuals managing that IT environment gain new insights and skills that can be applied more comprehensively across the IT organization.

Dell is committed to helping IT organizations make that transition starting anywhere they like. For example, VxRail Appliances can be deployed starting with a single 3-node cluster and scaled out to span thousands of nodes.

Organizations that are committed to rack-based systems can opt for either VxRack SDDC or VxRack FLEX Systems that are much simpler to deploy and manage than existing legacy systems.

Whatever the path chosen, the issues IT organizations are contending with are basically all the same. Not only are they being asked to do more with less; the business wants IT to drive new application experiences within the context of a digital business transformation. That’s not going to occur if the IT department is spending all of its time trying to just keep the proverbial lights on in the data center.

There was a time when weekends were spent replacing tubes in televisions and making trips to the store to replace car parts. Now televisions are solid-state and the systems that make up a car are all automated. We’re at the point where, the IT industry is applying the same concepts to the data center itself.

About the Author: Chad Sakac

Chad Sakac leads the Pivotal Container Service (PKS) efforts at Pivotal where he brings together the Engineering, Marketing and GTM aspects of the business – with the goal of building the best Enterprise Container Platform together with VMware – part of how Pivotal is transforming the way how software and the future is built. PKS is a joint effort with VMware – and the effort involves bringing the immense resources of two great companies together. This alliance part of Chad’s role extends to all of the elements of how Pivotal works with Dell Technologies (Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream, Boomi) - across the transformational methodologies (Pivotal Labs, Platform Acceleration Labs, Application Transformation and more) and technologies (all of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Data) of Pivotal as a whole. Prior to this role, Chad spent 14 years at Dell EMC where he was responsible for several technical customer focusing on customer and partner innovation – most recently as the President and GM of the Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CPSD), and prior to that leading all global Systems Engineering team. Before joining EMC, Chad led the Systems Engineering team at Allocity, Inc. Chad authors one of the top 20 cloud, virtualization and infrastructure blogs, “Virtual Geek” He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.