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The storage market continued to grow in the mid-single digits in the first quarter, continuing a slowdown that began in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to Gartner, but NetApp remained a bright spot.
Worldwide external controller-based disk storage revenue totaled $3.8 billion in the first quarter of 2007, a 4.8 percent increase over the same period in 2006, Gartner said today.
Network Appliance once again posted the strongest growth of the top vendors, edging ahead of Dell into the fifth spot with 19.3 percent revenue growth and an 8.4 percent market share (see table at bottom). NetApp and Dell were the only ones of the top seven vendors to gain market share in the quarter. Dell grew sales by 11.5 percent in the quarter.
The top four vendors EMC, IBM, HP and HDS all posted sub-5 percent growth in the quarter. EMC and HDS results do not include sales from their OEM partners. EMC partners with Dell and Fujitsu, while HDS has OEM deals with HP and Sun.
NetApp has been riding the emergence of NAS and iSCSI, along with a growing software business, to become the fastest-growing large storage vendor in recent years. NetApp posted $316 million in external controller-based disk storage sales in the first quarter, up from $265 million a year ago and matching Dell, according to Gartner.
Those numbers reflect hardware sales only, and do not include software or other storage networking gear. In NetApp's most recent fiscal quarter, which ended a month ago, the company reported 34 percent sales growth to $801 million.
Smaller vendors had a strong showing, with 11.4 percent year-over-year growth for a 17.9 percent market share.
The Asia Pacific region grew by 27.7 percent in the quarter. Vendors continued focus on developing and strengthening their sales and distribution channels in the region has contributed to this strong showing, stated Donna Taylor, principal analyst for Gartners global Storage Quarterly Statistics program.
IBM on Monday held a press conference to trumpet IDC's finding that it has become the largest overall branded storage hardware vendor, but IDC's analysis also included the legacy tape and DAS markets.