IT Shops Buy 7.1 Exabytes Of Disk Array Capacity In Q3
December 10, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you want to break into the disk array business, you better have a strong stomach and a steel spine. It takes more and more capacity to make a little more money, and it is the most competitive part of the IT sector these days.
According to the box counters at IDC, disk array sales were up 3.7 percent to $7.87 billion in the third quarter, but to get that revenue, vendors had to push 7,104 petabytes–that’s more than 7 exabytes–of new disk capacity. This is the first time that quarter disk array sales have broken through 7 exabytes, and at this rate in two years the global IT market will be consuming more than 10 exabytes per quarter.
What is especially significant is that this growth in raw capacity is occurring as most vendors have added thin provisioning, data compression, and storage virtualization to their disk arrays. It is mind-boggling to consider how much capacity would be consumed and money blown if these advancements had not been made. (You can say the same thing for server virtualization, I suppose.) The answer might have been that the money would not have been found and companies would be trying to figure out how to dump data and then save every bit they generate in the hopes that it can be mined as “big data” and turned into gold.
External disk arrays–meaning those not tucked under the skins of servers–accounted for $5.95 billion in the third quarter, up 3.3 percent. The analysts at IDC said that there was strong demand for midrange and high-end external arrays. EMC rules the roost in external storage, and posted $1.78 billion in sales, up 8.7 percent. NetApp grew by a meager nine-tenths of a point to $706 million in the quarter, but because IBM shrank 5 percent in the quarter, to $698 million, it knocked off Big Blue as the number two shipper of external arrays. Looks like somebody at IBM is not getting a Christmas bonus.