NetApp Leapfrogs the Storage Networking Competition -

NetApp Leapfrogs the Storage Networking Competition

NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) made a surprising leap in the rankings of storage networking vendors in the first quarter of 2010, vaulting past stalwarts such as Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and HP (NYSE: HPQ) into a virtual tie for second place with IBM (NYSE: IBM).

It was a good quarter for the pure storage plays among the top data storage vendors, as EMC (NYSE: EMC) remained unchallenged in the top spot.

NetApp rode 47 percent sales growth in its first quarter to increase its market share by more than 2 percentage points, with 11.1 percent of the worldwide external disk storage systems market, according to IDC. NetApp has done well in virtualization environments, and its primary storage deduplication and caching technologies have also done well.

IBM stayed ahead of NetApp thanks to 21.6 percent sales growth, with an 11.7 percent share of the external market. IDC declares a statistical tie when vendors are separated by less than 1 percent.

EMC remained untouchable in the top spot, with a 24.6 percent external market share and 37.6 percent sales growth, thanks in part to the addition of Data Domain.

Dell grew 21.8 percent in the quarter to catch HP, which grew 5 percent, in a tie for fourth place, with both vendors at just over 10 percent of the market.

IDC's press release stopped at the top five vendors, leaving out top vendors such as Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).

Overall, external storage systems factory revenues grew 17.1 percent year-over-year in the quarter to $5 billion, IDC said, while the total disk storage systems market grew 18.8 percent to $6.7 billion. Total capacity shipped reach 3,397 petabytes, up 55.2 percent.

While the market benefited from easy comparisons thanks to the improving economy, Natalya Yezhkova, IDC's research manager for Storage Systems, said the sequential comparison to the fourth quarter was more impressive, with a lower than usual decline. "This is a positive sign, suggesting increased storage budgets and continued demand for storage solutions," Yezhkova said in a statement.

The Open SAN market grew 20.3 percent while the NAS market was up 44.6 percent, nearly catching the iSCSI market's 45.7 percent revenue growth.

Liz Conner, IDC's senior research analyst for Storage Systems, noted 16.2 percent growth in the high-end market ($250,000 and up), driven by new offerings for specific use cases such as data deduplication, storage tiering and database storage.

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