Resisting downward trend, external disk storage revenues grow in Q1

Strength in emerging markets and a slowdown in price per gigabyte erosion helped disk drive revenues increase.

Global revenues for external disk storage went up 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012, bucking an overall trend that's thinning margins and commoditizing products.

Market research firm IDC says factories posted revenues of just under $6 billion in the quarter, $8 billion for the entire disk storage system market, external or otherwise.

That amounts to 6,037 petabytes of capacity -- a 21 percent increase from the same time period a year ago.

As always, EMC led the charge, followed by NetApp and IBM.

Three things to know:

  • Entry-level systems (sub-$25,000) took it on the chin in the wake of price increases from the Thailand floods.
  • High-end systems (over $250,000) declined 13 percent in the quarter and are flat, year over year.
  • The outlook is not good: as IT spending slows in 2012, so shall growth.

Here's the current external disk storage playing field:

And here's the playing field when you consider the entire market, including networked disk storage systems:

With the entire market in consideration, EMC still leads, but the gap is much smaller -- and HP drives forward into second place.

And what of the open networked disk storage market? It grew 8.5 percent, year over year, to $5.1 billion in revenue. The Open SAN market grew 13 percent in the same time period, but the network-attached storage (NAS) market declined 1.9 percent. EMC led all three.