Curiously, the data storage hardware market continues its slow but steady income improvement each quarter, but the corresponding software sector seems to have leveled off, according to a major industry researcher.
Figures released Sept. 11 from IDC's Worldwide Storage Software QView show that the worldwide storage software market closed the second quarter 2012 higher than a year ago, but for all intents and purposes was flat.
Global revenue during the second calendar quarter increased by a mere 0.9 percent year-over-year to $3.36 billion. This was the second consecutive quarter of reduced year-over-year growth for the market and a performance level lower than any time since the fourth quarter of 2009, IDC said.
The calendar years 2008 and 2009 were central in the largest global recession in more than 70 years, and the data storage software business wasn't immune to the downturn.
EMC, IBM and Symantec remained the top three storage software suppliers with 26.4 percent, 14.7 percent, and 14.6 percent of the market, respectively. Demonstrating the largest year-over-year growth during the quarter were CommVault, with a 21.5 percent increase, and EMC, with a 7.4 percent gain.
Last April, CommVault announced a new partnership with Microsoft to deliver its Simpana Data Management in the Windows Azure cloud, a factor that certainly helped spur the company's growth in the quarter.
"The second-quarter storage software results were mixed when viewed by supplier or functional market," said Eric Sheppard, research director in storage software at IDC. "Indeed, five of the top eight suppliers experienced revenue growth, but this was offset by declines within a few of the market's larger suppliers.
"Most functional markets showed increased investments, but the increases were far smaller than the market had been experiencing over the past two years. These generally lower results can be partially attributed to suppressed economic growth in Europe, reduced government/education investments and transitions specific to a few large suppliers."
Data protection and recovery and archiving software were once again the two fastest growing market segments with 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent year-over-year growth rates, respectively, or $1.16 billion and $404 million in total revenue, IDC said.