Growth of Hyperscale Data Centers Spurs Storage Spending

Worldwide enterprise storage systems revenue grew 7.2 percent year-over-year to $10.6 billion during Q4 and to $36 billion for all of 2014.

Sales of enterprise storage systems, which endured a leveling off and even a slight downturn several quarters ago, are officially back on track.

IDC reported March 6 in its Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker that total worldwide enterprise storage systems factory revenue grew 7.2 percent year-over-year to nearly $10.6 billion during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Total capacity shipments were up 43.7 percent year-over-year to 31.8 exabytes during the quarter. Spending for the full year was up 3.6 percent to $36.2 billion. Full-year capacity consumption was up 43 percent to 99.2 exabytes.

"The storage market had a strong finish to 2014," Eric Sheppard, IDC research director for storage, said in a press statement. "Fourth-quarter spending on enterprise storage systems was up strongly in most major geographic markets, driven by traditional year-end seasonality, demand for midrange systems that incorporate flash capacity and continued growth of systems designed for hyperscale data centers."

A hyperscale data center is one with basically unlimited capacities in storage, networking and computing. Most new data centers are constructed with this functionality in mind, thanks to the overwhelming amount of new data flowing through millions of data channels.

As is customary, EMC finished the fourth quarter of 2014 in the top position within the total worldwide enterprise storage systems market, accounting for 22.2 percent of all spending, with $2.4 billion in revenue. No. 2 Hewlett-Packard captured 13.8 percent of spending during the quarter, with a total of $1.46 billion.

Dell ($952 million) and IBM ($951 million) ended the quarter in a statistical tie, with each accounting for 9 percent of global spending. As a single group, storage systems sales by original design manufacturers (ODMs) selling directly to hyperscale data center customers accounted for 12.8 percent of global spending during the quarter.

In the external disk systems report, EMC was No. 1 with 32.9 percent of sales—equal to the previous year's result. IBM and NetApp, respectively, generated 11.7 percent and 10.7 percent of total sales during the quarter. HP generated 9.6 percent of the revenue during the quarter.

Finally, in the Open Networked Disk Storage Systems category, the total market (network-attached storage, combined with non-mainframe storage area networks) was up 6.1 percent year-over-year to $6.3 billion in revenue. EMC was No. 1, with a commanding 35.7 percent revenue share. NetApp and IBM generated 12.1 percent and 11.1 percent of revenue, respectively.

IDC defines a disk storage system as a set of storage elements, including controllers, cables, and (in some instances) host bus adapters, associated with three or more disks. A system may be located outside of or within a server cabinet, and the average cost of the disk storage systems does not include infrastructure storage hardware (such as switches) and non-bundled storage software.

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...