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Data storage vendors suffered a minor, yet notable dip in revenues derived from external disk storage systems, according to IDC.
The market research firm said that during the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13), revenues totaled $5.9 billion, a 0.9 percent decline on a year-over-year basis. It's the first time the market had ventured into negative territory since 2009.
It's also a sign of shifting market dynamics, noted IDC research director Eric Sheppard. "Reduced demand within developed markets caused global sales of external disk systems to fall slightly during the first quarter of 2013. Emerging markets drove growth within the global market but this was not enough to offset declines elsewhere," he offered in a statement.
Despite the slight downturn, the market does present opportunities for some storage companies. "Independent storage suppliers were better positioned to capitalize on this new level of demand than their competitors, some of whom are currently working through product transitions and declining server sales," added Sheppard.
EMC took the top spot among external disk systems vendors with nearly $1.8 billion in revenues and a 30.4 percent share of the market. NetApp followed with $879 million in revenues and a 14.9 percent share. IBM, Hitachi and HP rounded out the top five.
The overall disk storage systems market (including both internal and external storage) reached $7.7 billion, a 3.2 percent drop compared to the same year-ago period. During the first quarter, vendors shipped a 7.8 exabytes of disk capacity, a 26.4 gain year-over-year.
One bright spot: unified storage.
The market for open networked disk storage, which IDC uses to describe NAS combined with SAN (non-mainframe), grew to $5.1 billion in 1Q13, a year-over-year gain of 0.4 percent. EMC and NetApp led the race with 33.4 percent and 17.1 percent revenue share, respectively.
EMC and NetApp also ruled a declining NAS market, which dipped 2.2 percent during the first quarter compared to 1Q12. EMC commanded the market with 39.6 percent of revenues followed by NetApp with 37.4 percent.
EMC also took home the open SAN crown with 31.2 percent of revenues, followed by IBM with 12.6 percent. HP and Hitachi were tied for third place with 10.8 percent each. The Open SAN market notched a gain of 1.3 percent in the first quarter compared to 1Q12.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.