External disk storage lifted by economic rebound

EMC keeps its lead as fourth-quarter revenue grows for external disk storage hardware, while storage software also makes gains, according to IDC
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

External disk storage revenue grew 16.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, driven by a global economic recovery, according to new research from IDC.

Combined, vendors reported quarterly worldwide revenue of $6.093bn (£3.753bn), compared with $5.244bn the previous year, the market analysis firm said in a report published on Friday.

The top external disk storage vendors by factory revenue were EMC, IBM, HP and NetApp, with Hitachi Data Systems and Dell tied for fifth place. In the quarter, HP swapped spots with NetApp to become the third-place vendor and Hitachi grew enough to tie with Dell, but the other rankings stayed the same.

"The fourth quarter of 2010 continued the trend of economic recovery, and helped close a successful year for disk storage," Liz Conner, senior research analyst for IDC's storage systems division, said in a statement.

Another boost to both fourth-quarter and full-year figures came from the continued growth of network storage, which saw fourth-quarter revenue rise 21.7 percent and annual revenue rise 25.7 percent, year-on-year.

The Open SAN market increased 15.1 percent year-on-year by revenue, network-attached storage (NAS) grew 41.3 percent, and the iSCSI SAN market rose 42.1 percent.

Software market

In a separate report released on Monday, IDC said the worldwide storage software market increased 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the previous year. Full-year revenue showed a similar gain, 10.3 percent, year-on-year.

The fourth quarter of 2010 continued the trend of economic recovery, and helped close a successful year for disk storage.
– Liz Conner, IDC

The top five storage software vendors had combined totals of $3.4bn for the quarter. EMC led with $866.1m and a market share of 25.4 percent, followed by Symantec, IBM, NetApp and Hitachi.

IDC's research divided storage software into eight sub-sectors: data protection and recovery, archiving, storage replication, storage management, storage device management, storage infrastructure, file system and 'other'.

Along with the general economic recovery, the market was driven by "a considerable increase in storage software designed to enable automated storage tiering, coupled with a continued market trend of addressing aging, inefficient storage deployments", Eric Sheppard, research director of IDC's storage software programme, wrote.

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