Storage system sales show a rebound

Revenue for external disk storage systems has seen double-digit percentage growth in the third quarter after a decline a year ago, according to IDC and Gartner

Sales of disk storage systems jumped in the third quarter of 2010, according to figures released by research firms IDC and Gartner.

Worldwide revenue for external disk storage systems grew 19 percent year-on-year to a quarterly total of just less than $5.2bn (£3.3bn), IDC said on Friday. Gartner put the total for external controller-based disk storage sales at $4.6bn — a rise of 16 percent — in its report on Friday.

The third quarter of 2009 saw a decline in storage system sales, giving some bounce to the size of this year's revenue increases. Even so, the rises do reflect a burst of investment by companies in storage, the research firms said.

"Users are still making up for their reduced storage spending in 2009 as the third quarter recorded the fourth-highest revenues in a single quarter for external disk storage systems," said Liz Conner, a senior storage analyst at IDC, in a statement.

"The increased investment by end users and vendors alike in iSCS [Internet Small Computer System Interface], SAN [Storage Area Networks] and NAS [Network-Attached Storage]... has helped fuel the overall growth, while easing budget constraints sparked a pick-up in FC [Fibre Channel] SAN and higher-end systems alike," she added.

The NAS market grew 49.8 percent compared with the same quarter in 2009, IDC said, while Gartner put the increase at 42.7 percent. Sales of iSCSI SAN rose by 41.4 percent, and Open SAN sales increased by 18.5 percent in the quarter, according to IDC.

"Users continue to show a growing preference for modular ECB [external controller-based] disk storage systems rather than the more costly monolithic frame-based disk storage systems," Gartner said in a statement. "While EMC and Fujitsu produced year-on-year revenue gains in the third quarter of 2010, the monolithic frame-based disk storage market declined to 24.5 percent of the total ECB disk-storage market."

EMC continues to lead in storage systems market share, Gartner and IDC agreed, followed by IBM, NetApp, HP and Dell. EMC's V-Max contributed to a jump of almost 26 percent in the company's disk storage systems sales, while NetApp's gains among those with tight budgets helped it pull in 54 percent more revenue, according to Gartner.

Outside the top five, Fujitsu saw revenue gains of 56 percent, boosted by healthy sales of its Eternus DX8000 in Japan, Gartner said. Fujitsu has the seventh-largest share of the storage-systems market, according to Gartner.