Storage Sales Hang In There


The storage market weathered the economic storm in fine fashion in the fourth quarter of 2007, turning in its best performance in nearly two years, according to IDC.

Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenue grew 9.8 percent in the quarter to $5.3 billion, the best quarter since a 10.3 percent growth spurt in the first quarter of 2006, according to IDC's Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Quarterly Tracker. Storage systems sales had slowed to a mid-single digit growth rate in recent quarters before rebounding in the fourth quarter.

It remains to be seen how the sector will fare in the first quarter of this year — economic data suggest that the slowdown has accelerated since the start of the year — but storage vendors are beginning the year in a strong position.

"Despite the current global economic uncertainties, the disk storage systems market is benefiting from a wide variety of drivers, ranging from the simple need to store ever-increasing volumes of business data to the more sophisticated objectives around consolidation, virtualization and ease of management," stated IDC research manager Brad Nisbet.

Nisbet said the numbers indicate that data storage "remains a crucial component to the successful execution of enterprise business."

EMC, Dell, Hitachi and Network Appliance all posted double-digit growth in the quarter, while IBM and HP grew in the low-to-mid single digits (see table below).

The total disk storage systems market (external and server-based storage) grew to $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up 7.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2006. Total disk storage systems capacity shipped reach 1,645 petabytes, up 56.3 percent.

The total network disk storage market (NAS combined with Open SAN) posted 15.8 percent year-over-year growth to more than $3.9 billion. EMC once again led the total network storage market with a 27.8 percent revenue share, followed by IBM and HP, with 15.4 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

In the Open SAN market, which grew 17.2 percent, EMC lead with a 24.3 percent revenue share, followed by IBM with 17.5 percent. The NAS market grew 10.5 percent, led by EMC with a 41.2 percent revenue share and followed by Network Appliance with 28.3 percent. The iSCSI SAN market had another strong quarter, up 74.9 percent, with NetApp in the lead with a 19.6 percent share, followed by EMC with 17.4 percent.

Top 5 Vendors
Worldwide External Disk Storage Systems Factory Revenue, Fourth Quarter 2007

(Revenues are in millions)
VendorQ4 2007
Market shareQ4 2006
Market shareRevenue
Network Appliance$3997.5%$3356.9%19.3%
All vendors$5,332100%$4,856100%9.8%
Source: IDC, March 2008
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