Disk Array Sales Still Humming Along, Says IDC
June 18, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Few things in the world exhibit such perfect elasticity of price and demand as the appetite that corporations have had over the past 50 years for disk storage. As disk technology has progressed and the cost of a unit of capacity has come down dramatically, this has fueled an even larger demand for capacity. This has remained so in the first quarter of 2007, according to statistics compiled by IDC.
Sales worldwide of external disk arrays rose by 5.9 percent in the first quarter to $4.3 billion. Total disk array sales, which includes internal arrays that are popular for smaller servers and some midrange boxes (like Unix and System i servers used by SMB customers for their back office systems), rose by 7.2 percent to $6.1 percent. When you do the math that means that sales of internal disk storage arrays grew by 9.2 percent in the quarter, to $2.9 billion.
“External storage systems selling under $50,000 drove the growth in the first quarter of 2007,” explained Brad Nisbet, program manager of storage systems at IDC in a statement accompanying the statistics. “After several quarters of impressive growth in 2006 for midrange and high-end systems selling with average prices above $50,000, we saw only modest gains in these systems this quarter. The growth in lower-end products indicates opportunity across the board as customers continue to invest in a broad spectrum of available storage solutions.”
Network disk arrays–that’s traditional Ethernet NAS boxes as well as iSCSI SANs–accounted for $3 billion in sales, up 14.3 percent.
In terms of total disk array storage sales, Hewlett-Packard remains at the top of the heap in the first quarter, with $1.24 billion in sales, up 5.7 percent, followed by IBM with $1.12 billion in sales, up 5.3 percent. EMC, which tops external disk array sales, had $912 billion in disk array sales in the quarter, up only one-tenth of a percent. Dell, which resells EMC entry and midrange arrays as the CX line, had a good run, with $574 million in sales, up 12.9 percent. Hitachi and Sun Microsystems are players in this disk storage area, too, with sales of $373 million (up 6.9 percent) and $331 million (up 7.4 percent) respectively.
Perhaps the most interesting thing that IDC had to say about storage is that storage software related to disk arrays–which it tracks as a separate product category and which is not included in the above numbers, just to be precise–is growing even faster than revenues at the disk array makers and other companies that sell adjunct software for disks. IDC estimates that companies bought $2.7 billion in storage software–file systems, snapshotting features, data replication tools, and so on–in the first quarter, up 11.4 percent from the year-ago quarter. These functions, which would have normally been embedded in controllers much as operating systems used to be a long time ago, are now separately sold functions, and they are racking up the revenues and profits.
EMC is the top vendor in storage software, with $674 million in sales in the quarter, up 11.5 percent and giving it a 25.1 percent share of the pie. Symantec, by virtue of its Veritas acquisition, is the number two player in storage software, with $475 million in sales in the quarter, but up only 2.2 percent. IBM ranked third in storage software in the quarter, with $332 million in sales, up 11.5 percent, followed by Network Appliance at $270 million–up a stunning 49.4 percent. HP and CA each posted $117 million in storage software sales in the quarter, according to IDC, with HP declining 9.4 percent and CA gaining 1.4 percent.