Controller-Based Disk Storage Market Expands: Gartner

For the year, worldwide disk storage vendor revenue totaled $22.5 billion in 2013, a 1.4 percent increase from revenue of $22.2 billion in 2012.

Worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage vendor revenue totaled $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, a five percent increase from revenue of $6.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

For the year, worldwide disk storage vendor revenue totaled $22.5 billion in 2013, a 1.4 percent increase from revenue of $22.2 billion in 2012.

This anemic year-over-year growth, the lowest since the decline in 2009, reflects the influence of muddled global macroeconomies, particularly in North America, Asia/Pacific and Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Although pricing per terabyte continues to decline as expected, the average selling price (ASP) per unit increased 5.1 percent in 2013, signaling larger configurations.

The culmination of the infrastructure build-out after the 2011 tsunami with the weakness of the yen contributed to Japan being the only region to experience an absolute year-over-year decline in vendor revenue.

Dell, IBM and Oracle continue to underperform the market and lose share. Although the Dell Compellent offering is producing year-over-year revenue increases, the gains are insufficient to offset the decline in other members of its ECB disk storage portfolio, the report noted.

In addition, Gartner’s research indicated Dell may be suffering from organizational and structural issues associated with its leveraged buyout that are hampering sales.

Meanwhile, IBM's strategy of emphasizing its IP-based disk storage products is gaining traction but is not yet strong enough to offset declines in technology sourced from NetApp.

"Even though Oracle's ZFS Storage Appliance is a competitive offering from a technology perspective, Oracle's declining revenue results are due to inadequate market coverage," the report noted.

While Fujitsu and NetApp had year over year revenue gains, only two vendors - EMC and HP - beat the year-over-year market growth rate in the fourth quarter.

Propelled by broad acceptance of the HP 3PAR StoreServ and the StoreOnce disk-based backup platforms, HP led all surveyed vendors in year-over-year revenue growth.

Beyond its broad ECB disk storage portfolio, EMC benefited from the success of its VNX and Data Domain product refresh offerings.

The increasing traction of NetApp's Clustered Data OnTap operating system within its installed base, as well as an alternative to competing solutions, is enabling NetApp to achieve above-market results.

The report also noted Fujitsu continues to make gains in the EMEA region and has a strong showing in its home country, Japan.

"Following an abysmal third quarter, the fourth quarter of 2013 returned to growth. Driven by pent-up demand and the year-end budget flush phenomenon, the market overcame a fragile global economy and grew a strong five percent over the same period in 2012," Roger Cox, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.