The enterprise disk storage market is showing signs of increased stability, while sales of storage software are showing continued weakness, according to figures from research firm IDC.
IDC's third-quarter study of disk storage systems, published on Friday, found that worldwide factory revenues for external disk storage systems showed a 10 percent drop from the same quarter last year, totalling $4.4bn (£2.7bn) for July to September 2009.
In total, the disk storage systems market fell to $6bn in revenues, down 9.6 percent from the third quarter of last year, while total disk-storage-systems capacity shipped reached 2,661 petabytes, up 21 percent over the same quarter last year.
Despite the continued year-on-year decline, IDC said the rate of decline has begun to slow, and pointed out that the market showed a sequential gain over the previous quarter.
The sequential gains were distributed among several of the top storage vendors, according to IDC research manager Steve Scully.
"The stability in the storage market that IDC first began to see last quarter is now being felt more broadly by storage vendors," Scully said in a statement.
The quarter-on-quarter gains showed up in all IDC's market segments — entry, mid-range and high-end — for the first time since the fourth quarter of last year. And while overall sales dropped year-on-year, some technologies showed sales growth, according to IDC analyst Liz Conner.
"Both the total NAS and iSCSI markets posted year-over-year gains, while the FC SAN market had a lower rate of decline than in previous quarters," she stated. "These are all encouraging signs of renewed vigour in the enterprise storage market."
EMC remained the leader in external disk storage systems, with 24.2 percent revenue share in the third quarter. It was followed by IBM with 13.2 percent share, according to IDC.
A separate IDC third-quarter study, published on Monday, found that the worldwide storage software market fell by 7.9 percent year-on-year to $2.87bn, but showed a 1.2 percent gain over the second quarter.
EMC led the storage software market for the quarter with a 23.4 percent share of revenues, while Symantec followed with an 17.8 share, and IBM took 12.2 percent.
While sales increased quarter-over-quarter, the gains were limited to only EMC and IBM, according to IDC analyst Michael Margossian.
"The storage software market was barely able to maintain a positive sequential growth rate in the third quarter of 2009," Margossian said in a statement. "For the second quarter in a row, only two of the top five vendors displayed a positive growth over the previous quarter.
"EMC and IBM displayed positive growth rates of 5.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively, while Symantec, NetApp, and CA each had negative growth rates from the previous quarter of -2.1 percent, -8.9 percent and -3 percent, respectively."