External Disk Array Sales Slow Down A Bit
October 1, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The use of internal disk arrays inside of database, data warehousing, and Hadoop data munching clusters seems to be having an effect on sales of external disk array sales. Maybe.
In the second quarter, according to Gartner, external controller-based disk arrays (meaning they have their own brains instead of relying on controllers under the skins of the servers that the arrays attach to) accounted for $5.5 billion in revenues, up 6.7 percent and marking the eleventh quarter in a row that external disk array sales have gone up. However, Gartner was expecting for 7.9 percent growth and around $62 million in external array sales did not materialize.
Gartner blamed it on the economies in EMEA, with sales up only 2.9 percent against an expected 7.4 percent revenue bump in its forecast. Sales of external arrays were 7.1 points lower than forecast in the Asia/Pacific region, with the economy in India already downshifted and slowing in China now, too. Disk array sales in the AP region were still up 9 percent and helped offset the tepid growth in Europe. Sales in North America and Japan were on par with expectations, says Roger Cox, research vice president at the company.
As you might expect, EMC is the undisputed king of the external disk array market, and raked in $1.82 billion in sales in the second quarter, which is 12.6 percent growth year-on-year and nearly twice as fast as the market overall. And believe it or not, Oracle, which ranks seventh in terms of absolute sales also outgrew the market, with sales up 13.9 percent to $105.5 million. And eighth-ranked Fujitsu, which has had its share of issues in the server and storage areas, grew a very impressive 28 percent in Q2 to $83.1 million. I have seen a large number of supercomputer deals pairing together Sparc64-based machines and Eternus storage, so this might be part of the reason Fujitsu is growing at more than four times the pace of the market at large. Admittedly, Oracle and Fujitsu are starting from small numbers, so a relatively few number of big deals can sway their market position and growth rates in any given quarter. Sustaining this growth and moving up the rankings, well, that’s a different thing entirely.
With $754.4 million in sales in the second quarter, IBM held onto its number two ranking in external arrays even though it saw revenues decline 2.4 percent. NetApp, the number three player, declined by 6.7 percent to $605.5 million, and Hewlett-Packard managed some growth–3.7 percent to be precise–to hit $513.6 million in revenues in the period. Hitachi grew a more muted 2.2 percent, to $477.6 million, followed by sixth-ranked Dell with $400.2 million, up 5.7 percent.
Add up all the other disk array makers–and there are still a lot of them despite all the acquisitions the majors have made to try to outgun each other–and there’s an additional $706 million and a jump up to 20.5 percent. That growth among the others is a sure sign there is still innovation going on in the storage racket.