Report: Disk Storage Market Sees Revenue Jump

Revenue for worldwide disk storage systems grew to $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2006, a 10.3 percent increase from a year ago.

Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues continue to spiral up, growing 10.3 percent in first quarter of 2006 from a year ago to $4.2 billion, according to IDCs Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Quarterly Tracker report.

The 2006 projection of nearly $20 billion is on a fast track to the $65 billion neighborhood by 2010, according to analysts and market observers.

For the quarter, the total disk storage systems market grew to $5.8 billion, up 6.7 percent from the prior years first quarter. Total disk storage systems capacity shipped reached 627 petabytes, growing 51.5 percent, according to the report from IDC, which is based in Framingham, Mass.

"Customers continue to increase their reliance on business data and seek cost effective ways to store, protect and manage this critical data," said Brad Nisbet, program manager, IDC Storage Systems.

"Despite the server market being down nearly 2 percent in the first quarter of 2006, the comparable positive growth of external disk systems points to the importance of storage in helping customers improve overall business efficiency."

EMC maintained its lead in the external disk storage systems market with 21.8 percent revenue share, followed by HP and IBM with 17.9 percent and 12.0 percent revenue share, respectively.

Dell and Hitachi rounded out the top five in a statistical tie with 8.2 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively.

The total network disk storage market (network-attached storage combined with open and iSCSI SAN) posted 15.4 percent year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter to more than $2.8 billion.

EMC continues to maintain its leadership in the total network storage market with 28.7 percent revenue share, followed by HP and IBM with 19.3 percent and 10.7 percent revenue share, respectively.

Network Appliance and IBM posted the strongest year-over-year revenue growth for the quarter among the top five, with 24.4 percent and 22.6 percent growth, respectively.

In the NAS (network-attached storage) market, which grew 14.7 percent year over year, EMC led with 37.1 percent revenue share, followed by Network Appliance with 34.4 percent share.

The iSCSI SAN market continues to show strong momentum, posting 37.7 percent revenue growth compared to the prior years quarter reaching $92 million. Network Appliance continues to lead the market with 29.7 percent share, followed by EMC with 24.2 percent share.

The high-end segment (systems priced at $500,000 and over) showed the strongest year-over-year growth of nearly 40 percent, said Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst, IDC Storage Systems.

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"Although data protection, digital content and other emerging data-intensive applications are driving market growth mainly for midrange systems, demand for highly-scalable primary storage also remains strong, indicating the ongoing consolidation within corporate data centers," Yezhkova said.

EMC led in every worldwide external disk storage market segment, including the external RAID, networked storage (NAS and Open/iSCSI SAN), NAS and Open SAN market (includes iSCSI).

HP held the No. 1 position in midrange worldwide external disk array revenue share for the third consecutive quarter, according to the report.

In addition, the HP StorageWorks EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) family has increased its external disk array revenue share for the fifth consecutive quarter. In the most recent fiscal quarter, HP EVA revenue grew 46 percent year over year.

In addition, HP held its No. 1 position in worldwide total disk storage factory revenue for the 16th consecutive quarter with 22.9 percent market share and 8.5 percent revenue growth year over year in the first quarter of 2006.

The IDC numbers mirrored the results of HPs most recent quarterly earnings, in which the midrange EVA saw revenue growth of 46 percent year over year, an HP spokesperson said.

"There are no surprises in these figures," said Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass.

"But I think the biggest up-and-comer that usually gets the short straw in these IDC reports is NetApp. They always get screwed because of how their fiscal year lines up with these things. NetApp just reported revenues of $598 million for their Q4 [April] and they reported $537 million in Q3 [January].

"Eighty-five-plus percent of this revenue is product related, and yet they only get $330 million counted by IDC," Babineau said. "In any event, NetApp is growing significantly and its OEM deal with IBM will continue to spur that growth."

Babineau added that Dell continues to succeed in the external storage business despite its recent struggles on the consumer side.

"This can be attributed to the companys commitment to providing total, more cost-effective enterprise servers and storage to its customers and EMCs ability to meet Dells product requirements," Babineau said.

Dianne McAdam of The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass., said that if theres a trend in the report its that "companies like EqualLogic that make iSCSI storage [and others] are getting traction in the SME space.

"Customers are bringing in virtualization solutions such as IBMs SVC or HDS USP to consolidate storage. Theres lots of interest in lower-cost SATA disk systems for disk-based backup or secondary tiers of storage," McAdam said.

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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...