AWS largest storage vendor? By this logic Hilton is one of the largest home builders in the world

Last week we reported IT Brand Pulse’s estimates placing AWS as the world’s biggest – or second biggest – enterprise storage supplier. This raised the hackles of an HPE exec who thinks the comparison rests on flawed logic.

In response to our article, Neil Fleming, HPE’s Senior Manager of WorldWide PM, Sales, Presales and Alliances for HPE Cloud Data Services, responded via Twitter: “Late to the party but a few issues with this. AWS doesn’t sell storage they rent it. This is like looking at a town with an Avis car rental, a Ford dealership and a Chevy dealership and concluding Avis are the number 1 car dealer because they have more cars leaving the lot and ignoring the difference between a car being rented and sold.”

He followed this train of thought with a second idea: “It’s then concluding that as the revenue on renting a car is higher than selling it to a user that equates to more car sales. By this logic Hilton is one of the largest home builders in the world.”

Fleming hammered his points home with another example: “Raspberry Pis are used for server tasks (DNS etc). They sell about 600,000 units a month. [The] No 1 server vendor globally is not Dell/HPE but Raspberry Pi by a landslide (about +1.2m units). Comparing very different businesses like this is meaningless.”

But is AWS storage actually like renting a car, I asked Fleming: “I’d argue that public cloud storage is more akin to leasing a car than renting it. Someone leasing a car is doing so instead of purchasing it. So car leases should be added to the car sales total. Is this right?”

“Actually no,” He replied. “Car leases are already counted in car sales as the sale is counted to the leasing company. Same as ODM sales are counted to the CSPs – so this would be another issue. CSPs provide services akin to leasing (reserved services) I grant you, and car renting (spot prices).“

We are contacting Gartner and IDC to find out what they think about measuring public cloud enterprise storage revenues.