Disk Array Revenues Drop For The Second Quarter In A Row
October 7, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Disk array makers are trying to make it up in volume, and they are not succeeding. This is the second quarter in a row that revenues have fallen.
According to the latest statistics from IDC, disk array storage capacity shipments were up 21.5 percent in the second quarter ended in June, to a total of 8.2 exabytes. This disk array market was able to grow capacity shipments by between 30 and 40 percent a year, which kept revenues growing. But with thin provisioning, data compression, virtualization, and other technologies being more widely deployed on arrays, it is getting harder to keep the capacity going out the door. And that’s one of the reasons why worldwide disk array sales were down 5 percent year-on-year to $7.68 billion.
“Once again, spending on disk systems varied considerably by region,” explained Eric Sheppard, research director for storage at IDC in a statement accompanying the statistics. “Emerging markets experienced increases in demand while spending within mature markets, including the United States, Western Europe, Canada, and Japan, fell when compared to the same quarter a year ago. This reduced demand is creating a very competitive environment and a general deterioration in pricing, which seems to worsen market conditions.”
Those figures above are for all types of disk array sales, including both internal arrays tucked up inside of servers or external ones that lash to machines through SCSI, Fibre Channel, Ethernet, or InfiniBand links. If you look at external disk array sales only, then revenues were $5.95 billion and were down only eight-tenths of a point. IDC did not provide the capacity figures for the external arrays. Storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) array sales, when combined together as a single category, saw two-tenths of a point growth from the year-ago period. EMC and NetApp dominate both the SAN and NAS markets. Across all types of external arrays, EMC had $1.86 billion in sales in Q2, up 2.1 percent, while NetApp and IBM were in a statistical tie. NetApp posted $789 million in external array sales, up 8.6 percent, while IBM came in third with $747 million in sales, down 3 percent. Even if they are technically in a statistical tie, NetApp is heading in the right direction and IBM is not. And it is in good company. Hewlett-Packard‘s external array sales were down 7.5 percent to $594 million in the quarter, Dell‘s were off 3.1 percent to $454 million, and Hitachi was off 12.4 percent to $424 million.
The lesson here is to get multiple vendors in on your next major disk array acquisition.