Dell Paces Strong Storage Market

Dell posted the strongest growth among the major storage vendors in the second quarter, growing at twice the rate of its biggest competitors, according to IDC’s Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Tracker.

HP and IBM also posted strong growth in the second quarter, while EMC found itself in the unusual position of barely outgrowing the market. Sun Microsystems, meanwhile, continued to slide, underscoring the importance of its acquisition of StorageTek.

External disk storage systems factory revenue grew 8.6 percent year over year to $3.8 billion in the second quarter, IDC reported, while the total worldwide disk storage systems market grew at a slightly higher year-over-year rate of 9.9 percent to $5.6 billion. It was the highest year-over-year growth in two years for the storage sector.

“The high growth for external systems represents continued investment in networked storage, while the growth in internal storage indicates richer configurations and increased sales of servers with three or more hard disk drives,” stated Brad Nisbet, program manager in IDC’s Storage Systems program. “Storage continues to be an area filled with opportunity as many organizations become increasingly dependent upon the value of their business information.”

Growth in petabytes shipped continues to outstrip revenue growth by a wide margin, showing that storage pricing remains competitive. Total disk storage systems petabytes grew 59.3 percent year over year to 457 petabytes, but at least revenue growth improved significantly from late 2004.

Of the top vendors, Dell posted the strongest year-over-year growth at 27 percent, followed by Network Appliance at 22 percent, while HP and IBM grew more than 13 percent each. HP’s and IBM’s performance was helped in part by an easy comparison to a weak year-ago quarter. EMC grew sales 9.6 percent, while Sun saw its overall storage sales slip by 10.4 percent.

EMC maintained its lead in the external disk storage systems market with a 21.2 percent revenue share, followed by HP and IBM with 18.8 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively (see table below). Dell edged out Hitachi for the fourth position with an 8.3 percent revenue share, while Hitachi ended the quarter with 7.3 percent of the market.

“The top five vendors accounted for almost 70 percent of the external disk storage systems market, up from 68 percent a year ago, confirming the maturity of the market,” stated Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst for IDC Storage Systems. “Four of the top five vendors gained market share, benefiting from the success of their midrange products.”

In the total worldwide disk storage systems market (external plus server-based storage), HP maintained its lead with a 23.5 percent revenue share, followed by IBM with 20.5 percent and EMC with a 14.4 percent revenue share (see table below).

iSCSI Growing Fast

The total network storage market (NAS combined with open and iSCSI SAN) posted 16.1 percent year-over-year growth to nearly $2.5 billion.

EMC maintained its lead with a 27.9 percent revenue share, followed by HP with 21.3 percent. Dell and IBM posted the strongest year-over-year revenue growth for the quarter among the top five vendors, with 33.2 percent and 22.9 percent growth, respectively.

The Open/iSCSI SAN market grew 17.8 percent year over year, surpassing $2 billion in revenues for the first time. EMC and HP were in a statistical tie for first place: EMC had 25 percent revenue share and HP had 24.8 percent.

In the NAS market, which grew 9.5 percent year over year, EMC led with 40.2 percent revenue share, followed by Network Appliance with 35.2 percent share. NetApp has in the past disputed that ranking because it includes content-addressed storage (CAS), claiming that it leads the market in pure NAS.

The iSCSI SAN market posted nearly 140% revenue growth year over year. NetApp continues to lead the market there with a 41.6 percent share, followed by EMC with 26 percent.

Top 5 Vendors
Worldwide External Disk Storage Systems Factory Revenue, Second Quarter 2005

(Revenues are in millions)
Vendor Q2 2005
Market share Q2 2004
Market share Revenue
EMC $807 21.2% $736 21% 9.6%
HP $717 18.8% $631 18% 13.7%
IBM $527 13.8% $465 13.2% 13.4%
Dell $315 8.3% $248 7.1% 27.1%
Hitachi $278 7.3% $281 8% -1.1%
Others $1,169 30.7% $1,151 32.8% 1.6%
All vendors $3,813 100% $3,512 100% 8.6%
Source: IDC, September 2005

Top Vendors
Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Factory Revenue, Second Quarter 2005

(Revenues are in millions)
Vendor Q2 2005
Market share Q2 2004
Market share Revenue
HP $1,313 23.5% $1,152 22.6% 13.9%
IBM $1,146 20.5% $1,013 19.9% 13.2%
EMC $807 14.4% $736 14.5% 9.6%
Dell $463 8.3% $365 7.2% 26.7%
Sun Microsystems $339 6.1% $378 7.4% -10.4%
Others $1,529 27.3% $1,445 28.4% 5.8%
All vendors $5,596 100% $5,090 100% 9.9%
Source: IDC, September 2005

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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