Disk Array Sales Keep Expanding Despite Drive Shortages
March 19, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The relentless pace of disk capacity improvements and the impressive price/performance gains with every new generation of disk were more than offset by rapacious demand for storage to help the disk array business grow in the final quarter of 2011. And despite disk shortages due to the flooding in Thailand (where about a quarter of the world’s disks are made) and jittery economies in the United States and Western Europe.
According to the box counters at Gartner, sales of external disk arrays that make use of controllers (as distinct from internal disk arrays like those inside of many X86 and Power Systems servers) rose by 4.8 percent in the quarter, to $5.92 billion. That was a little bit lower than Gartner’s 7.6 percent growth projection, says storage research vice president Roger Cox, but these things happen.
Disk array juggernaut EMC grew its revenues by more than a factor of four faster than the market at large, with sales up 20.0 percent to $1.94 billion in Q4 2011. IBM ranked a distant second, with $977.3 million in external array sales, down seven-tenths of a point on a year-over-year basis. IBM’s Storwize and XIV products grew by 51.5 percent in the quarter, but its DS Series of Power-based arrays fell.
NetApp grew twice as fast as the market, with sales up 11.3 percent to $619.6 million, followed by Hitachi, up 6.9 percent to $558.1 million. Hewlett-Packard, which has a very large internal disk array business by virtue of its ProLiant X86 server business, saw sales slip by 4.4 percent in Q4 to $555.6 million. Dell was up 1.4 points to $417 million, with Fujitsu up an impressive 22.7 points to $109 million and Oracle rounding out the leaders with sales up 1.8 percent to $91.4 million. Other vendors lost share as a group, dropping by 19.5 percent to a combined $658.3 million in revenues.
For the full 2011 year, external disk storage array sales were up 9.8 percent, to $21.2 billion.