Storage Software Doing Better Than Hardware, Says IDC
September 28, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Over the past few weeks, The Four Hundred has told you about how challenging the server and disk storage markets have been for both customers and vendors. But there are pockets where IT sales have not been hit so hard, and one of them is the add-on software for storage arrays that bring data replication, snapshotting, and myriad other capabilities to storage systems.
According to a report from IDC, such storage software sales only declined by 9.8 percent, to $2.84 billion worldwide in the second quarter. This is quite a bit rosier–and a lot more profitable–than the 18.7 percent drop in disk array sales, which fell to $5.7 billion even as vendors increased the capacity they sold by 15.2 percent to 2,345 petabytes in the year ago quarter.
I think being in the storage software business is probably a good thing, particularly if you have a large captive base of hardware customers who need to get their storage arrays to do more work, or do the same work faster, or add resiliency or other capabilities to their data.
“The storage software market is slowly starting to recover with positive growth over the first quarter of 2009,” explained Michael Margossian, research analyst for storage software at IDC in a note accompanying the market statistics. “While only two out of the top five vendors experienced growth over the previous quarter, the replication market grew 5 percent compared to 1Q09, led by NetApp, which has been refocusing its efforts and grew 20 percent from the previous quarter.”
By IDC’s reckoning, sales of data replication and recovery software grew by 3 percent sequentially in the second quarter from a pretty dismal first quarter. Device management and archiving software sales for disk arrays also showed sequential improvement.
IDC figures that EMC was the top seller of add-on software for disk storage arrays in the second quarter, with $638 million in revenues, down 14.4 percent compared to Q2 2008. Symantec held its number two ranking in storage software sales, and closed the gap a bit with EMC, falling only 11.2 percent to $524m, based largely on sales of its Veritas file system and clustering products. IBM had a quarter for storage software that was comparatively awful, with a decline of 18.5 percent to $328 million and losing market share. Network Appliances did the remarkable thing and actually grew sales, rising by eight-tenths of a percent, to $241 million. CA ranked fifth in this category, with sales of $116 million, but dropped faster than the overall market with a 14.2 decline. Other vendors did comparatively better than the pack, only falling nine-tenths of a percent as a group and garnering an aggregate of $886m in sales. This is one of the few parts of the IT infrastructure market where Others have more share than the top several vendors.
That is, I think, a sign of a healthy market.