Disk Array Sales Decline in 2009, First Time Since Dot-Com Bust
March 8, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In case you were happily sleeping away under an apple tree for the last year and missed the economic meltdown and its affect on sales of all kinds of IT hard and soft wares, you might awake and be surprised to find that disk array sales actually declined in 2009. That’s the first time disk array revenues have declined since the dot-com bust coincided with the recession in 2001, causing a 2002 that many wish they could have slept through.
According to the latest stats from Gartner, sales of disk arrays external to servers (and not including internal disk arrays commonly sold in entry machines) fell 8.6 percent last year, to $16.4 billion. All geographic regions had a decline, with Japan, Latin America, and EMEA taking the biggest hits revenue-wise.
Thanks in part to its acquisition of DataDomain, EMC‘s external disk array sales for all of 2009 only fell by 8.8 percent, to $4.1 billion, and IBM‘s disk array business was bolstered in part by its earlier XIV acquisition, which helped Big Blue peddle $2.43 billion in arrays and only see a decline of eight-tenths of a percent in 2009. When you consider what last year was like, that is as good as it gets. Hewlett-Packard‘s disk business brought down the class average, falling 17.5 percent to $1.72 billion, with Hitachi dropping 11.2 percent to $1.47 billion. Dell, which rebrands and resells EMC’s Clariion arrays as well as its own PowerVault products, shrank by 12 percent to just under $1.4 billion, and NetApp managed a relatively minor 1.7 percent haircut to $1.37 billion. The formerly independent Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, bled at 29.4 percent decline, to $664.5 million in disk array revenues in 2009, followed by sometime-partner Fujitsu, with $416.8 million in array sales, down 4.1 percent. Other disk makers–and there are plenty of innovative companies scratching at data center doors, trying to get in with their products–accounted for $2.87 billion in revenues in 2009, down only 2.8 percent.
To show you just how tough a year it was, the raw capacity of disk arrays sold last year rose by 39.1 percent, but the cost per terabyte fell by 34.3 percent. Those are two hugely divergent lines.
Monolithic disk arrays (like IBM’s DS8000s, EMC’s Symmetrix, and Hitachi USP V) had a 21.1 percent decline in sales in 2009, and for the first time revenues for this segment dipped below 30 percent of the disk array pie. Modular and clustered arrays are gaining traction in the market, obviously, and network-attached storage, which generally gets stuck coping with unstructured data (like the junk cluttering servers and PCs), actually had a 1.4 percent increase in sales in 2009.
In the fourth quarter of the year, EMC’s external disk array sales were flat at $1.26 billion, and IBM’s recovering DS3000 and DS5000 series and growing XIV sales helped propel its revenues up 11.9 percent to $871.6 million. The overall market fell by 2.5 percent to $4.86 billion.