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many StorageSearch readers have asked...

will the enterprise SSD market be big enough for all these companies [list] to grow?

Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 21, 2011

The market dynamics which underly the growth expected in the enterprise SSD market in 2012 to 2015 are well understood by all the business leaders I've spoken to in the past year - and by SSD market analysts too - but they are less transparent in the investment community - from where most of these questions come from.

So this is a condensed and updated version of the explanations I've been giving to readers who ask me how all the growth rates they're hearing about from different enterprise SSD companies stack up.

So - will the enterprise SSD market really be big enough for all these companies [list] to grow?

I'd like you to think about this....

In 2010 less than 1% of datacenter servers had any SSD acceleration built in or directly connected.

In 2016 - 100% (nearly) of all new datacenter servers will include SSD acceleration and most will also include substantial amounts of SSD attached bulk storage. It could be a few years later. But there won't be much of a market for new servers which are 10x slower than the slowest SSD accelerated models.

That's not to say that the enterprise SSD market will be 100x larger in revenue in 5 6 years although I do believe it could grow to be a $50-100 billion market by 2020.

The reasons you cant just scale up and multiply past or present SSD market revenue numbers by numbers varying from x10 to x100 to predict the future market size are:-
  • users will need less servers than they need now to do the same work if each SSD accelerated server is 3x to 10x faster. (This reduces the multiplication factor.)
  • new SSD enabled data markets will create new demand for servers and SSDs which don't exist today. (This increases the multiplication factor - but in a way that's impossible to predict reliably.)
  • users will deploy significantly more SSD per server in future years than they do now. (Because they will have more confidence in what SSDs can do for their business and because SSDs will become more competitive as storage devices - compared to HDD RAID - and won't just be used because of their ROI as apps accelerators.)
  • SSDs will get cheaper. (So a 2010 $100K budget will buy more SSD in future years.)
Whatever the actual SSD market scale-up will be - x20, x50 or x100 - only time will tell. But along the way it will be a staggeringly high revenue growth rate in the next 3 to 5 years.

Simple message for the next few years is that no single oem or group of oems will be able to service all the demand for enterprise SSDs

That means large sales opportunities for enterprise SSD makers who make it easy for their customers to buy from them and offer credible products and credible pricing.

End users who buy enterprise SSDs will have different preferences about who they buy from (think - preference distribution curve). So an SSD oem who focuses on Fortune 500 accounts for example will not necessarily be the supplier of choice for small and medium sized user sites.

Where do resllers fit into this picture?

In my view - SSDs are not yet near to being a reseller market. The level of technical knowledge required to ensure that an SSD solution is needed and will actually do what is expected requires analysis skills which most resellers don't have. Auto-teiring products and the transition towards a pure SSD market will change that dynamic gradually.

Going back to the original question... I think there is enough room for all the SSD companies named in the reader's [list] to grow / maintain high double digit growth.

For the next 2-3 years it will be an easy ride. Then it will get tougher because it will become clearer which SSDs are better adapted for particular market apps.

I think there's room for maybe 10 to 15 enterprise SSD makers to each surpass multi-billion dollar revenues in the market shape of the future. Because they will be operating in 3 to 5 distinct market silos where the characteristics of the SSDs are dramataically different.

More about that later. In the meantime you may be interested in these other enterprise SSD articles.

SAS SSDs
PCIe SSDs
RAM SSDs
this way to the petabyte SSD
MLC flash in enterprise SSDs
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design
what do enterprise SSD users want?
High Availability enterprise SSD arrays
how fast can your SSD run backwards?
Yes you can! - swiftly sort Enterprise SSDs
2012 - Year of the Enterprise SSD Goldrush
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
don't all PCIe SSDs look pretty much the same?
RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
the New Business Case for auto accelerating SSDs
Rackmount SSDs - open vs proprietary architectures
if Fusion-io sells more does that mean Violin will sell less?
what do I need to know about any new rackmount SSD?
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HA / FT enterprise SSD arrays
high availabaility SSD arrays Due to the growing number of oems in the high availability / fault tolerant rackmount SSD market StorageSearch.com published a new directory focusing on HA enterprise SSD arrays.
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"... if Fusion-io sells more...
does that mean Violin will sell less?"
That's another question asked by a reader.
...click to read my (article length) reply
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What happens next in SSD's future?
SSD market analysts - is my pick of the best SSD clairvoyants who sell reports and market data services. As opposed to the SSD clairvoyants who are busy running their own SSD product companies.

SSDs - the big market picture - explains - what's all the fuss about SSDs?

This way to the Petabyte SSD - gives you a dense picture of SSD datacenter components in 2016.
click here to see our directory of SSD market analysts The future of enterprise data storage - is a light sketch of the market's destination in 2020.
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why so fast?
where to heading?
inside enterprise SSD market growth
In September 2012 - I realized that an important article was missing from my core list explaining why the enterprise SSD market is growing so fast and where its revenue heading.

3 key earlier articles had been:- But something was missing.

And I realized that an important 4th article was needed to alert readers to another new trend I've been seeing in 2012 - which will make the enterprise SSD market even bigger still than predicted by all those earlier models.

It was the home page blog iin september 2012 - but now it's got a new permalink.

You can't really understand the business dynamics of the enterprise SSD market without it.

See why for yourself in - the big market impact of SSD dark matter
.