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The New Math of Magic Quadrants

My colleague Nick Winkworth published a great blog on the new Gartner Group “Magic Quadrant for Blade Servers” and how it positions HDS and our blade server offerings. It’s a worthy read.

Given that I commented on the Magic Quadrant for General Purpose Disk Arrays with a blog, I thought it best to give the server business some equal attention. When the storage-focused and blade-focused Magic Quadrants are reviewed, you’ll see that there is a lot of commonality in how positively Hitachi is positioned. It’s great to see our strategy becoming understood by the analyst community.

There is one main difference between the Magic Quadrants, and it’s one that multi-tasking readers rush to – the picture. Of course in this case the picture is the “Quadrant” that highlights the placement of each vendor. In the blade server space, HDS is shown as being in the Niche category, while in the general purpose disk arrays we are positioned as a Leader.

So the question is, in today’s world does the old adage still hold true? Does a picture still equate to a thousand words?

As Nick pointed out, the HDS position in the “Niche” quadrant is actually quite logical given Gartner’s definitions for placement. We are successfully helping our enterprise customers, but are not one of the “big guy” blade server vendors that is covering every possible use case across the globe; our approach is far more targeted.

Since Gartner has continued to move the position of Hitachi upward (better Execution) and rightward (better Vision) with each of the last three Magic Quadrants, I take that as a clear sign that they see that our strategy of focusing on Hitachi Unified Compute Platform and enterprise-level compute innovation as one that is working for us and our customers.

For a bit of “Niche” category perspective, we are positioned similarly to Oracle with respect to our “Ability to Execute” and well ahead of them in terms of “Completeness of Vision.”

So while the positioning makes sense, the “thousand words” that the Quadrant picture represents doesn’t feel as illustrative as the 327 words that Gartner writes about HDS and our server capability.

Of the noteworthy comments, Gartner states that “Hitachi innovates strongly around blade aggregation and highly integrated virtualization” and “…Hitachi’s blade servers are highly popular among the vendor’s installed base…”

Gartner goes on to mention how their client feedback on Hitachi Unified Compute Platform, our primary go-to-market with our Compute Blades, is “very positive.”   They also mention that our Compute Blade hardware is “a well-proven platform, with a strong Japanese installed base.”

To be fair, Gartner also mentions “Cautions” about a few HDS server areas, as they do with all vendors.  For HDS, Gartner’s commentary focused on a storage-oriented sales and marketing focus, that we are “relatively unknown” as a server vendor outside of Japan, and a “limited” channel presence for servers.  Relative to the largest blade server vendors, those seem fair.

Of course, none of the “Caution” points suggest we cannot help our customers, as demonstrated by our continuous growth, both in the market and as represented in the Gartner “picture” of the world.

Is it possible then for 327 be greater than 1,000? I’ve never been a mathematician, but to me Gartner’s 327 words are far more valuable to understanding how HDS can help you with your converged infrastructure and computing needs than the thousand words presented by that picture.

Hopefully everyone will read them.

Because, while the math doesn’t seem to work, we continue to get customer feedback on our converged infrastructure offerings that “the sum is far greater than the parts,” so maybe it’s a comeback of the “new math” we heard so much about a while ago.

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Bob Madaio

Data Center Advisors

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