EMC Increases World Disk-Based Storage Market Lead

Gartner reports that the worldwide external controller-based disk storage market grew 4.1 percent in 2006; IBM and NetApp make the strongest moves among the pack.

EMC, a juggernaut in the data storage industry since the beginning of the decade, widened its overall lead in the controller-based disk storage market in 2006, increasing its market share to 24.8 percent in 2006 compared with 23.4 percent in 2005, according to statistics released this week by Gartner Inc.

Worldwide ECB (external controller-based) disk storage revenue totaled $15.2 billion in 2006, a 4.1 percent increase over 2005 revenue of $14.6 billion, the Stamford, Conn.-based IT researcher reported.

EMC continues its strategy to expand its holdings and revenues by acquisition. The storage giant, based in Hopkinton, Mass., has acquired 31 companies in the last five years—including RSA Security in July 2006 for $2.1 billion.

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IBM overtook Hewlett-Packard for the No. 2 position in 2006. IBMs worldwide ECB market share increased to 15.8 percent, while HPs market share dropped to 13.1 percent.

In 2001, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP had an 18.9 percent market share, and IBM had only 11.9 percent, but Big Blue has slowly but surely closed the gap since then.

Network Appliance of Sunnyvale, Calif., recorded the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors, with 21.7 percent revenue growth in 2006 and 36.6 percent revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2006.

NetApp is within striking distance of its closest competitor, Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, whose year-over-year revenue growth was only 3.5 percent.

In the fourth quarter of 2006, NetApp experienced the greatest revenue growth at 36.6 percent year over year, while Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara, Calif., grew its revenue by 29.7 percent during the same period. Dell, however, experienced the greatest revenue decline, dropping 38 percent.

Hitachi/HDS of Milpitas, Calif., overtook the No. 4 position from Dell in the fourth quarter of 2006 compared with one year ago. Hitachi/HDS gained a percentage point due to the success of its TagmaStore products. While Dell lost 1.3 percentage points, NetApps 36.6 percent revenue growth was enough to gain almost one percentage point.

IBM of Armonk, N.Y., gained market share of 2.1 percent to finish the year at 19.4 percent. Strong sales in its NAS and midrange products contributed to IBMs revenue growth of 17.3 percent year over year.

Hitachi/HDS maintained its No. 4 position with a market share of 9.5 percent. Dell and Network Appliance were No. 5 and No. 6 with 7.6 and 7.2 percent of the market, respectively. Sun Microsystems rounded out the top vendors in the No. 7 spot, finishing the year with a 6.1 percent market share.

Large vendors increasingly control a larger portion of the industry as consolidation continues, and effective marketing and channel partnerships strengthen their relative positions in the market. In 2006, the top seven vendors accounted for 84.2 percent of worldwide ECB revenue, up from 81.5 percent of total sales in 2005.

In the fourth quarter of 2006, the top seven vendors market share totaled 85.2 percent, up from an 83.6 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2005.

"Inorganic growth via vendor acquisitions was a hallmark of storage activity in 2006," said Donna Taylor, principal analyst for Gartners global Storage Quarterly Statistics program. "Private equity investment in the storage industry also offered alternative financing with which to fund them."

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...