The first quarter of 2006 was a strong one for storage vendors, according to IDC, with the top four vendors all posting double-digit growth.
Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues grew 10.3 percent from the year-ago quarter to $4.2 billion, according to IDC's Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Quarterly Tracker. The total disk storage systems market (both internal and external) grew 6.7 percent to $5.8 billion. Total disk storage systems capacity shipped hit 627 petabytes, up 51.5 percent.
Brad Nisbet, program manager for IDC Storage Systems, noted that storage systems posted strong growth in a quarter when server sales declined 2 percent. "The comparable positive growth of external disk systems points to the importance of storage in helping customers improve overall business efficiency," he said. "Customers continue to increase their reliance on business data and seek cost-effective ways to store, protect, and manage this critical data."
The biggest surprise among the top 10 external vendors was the performance of Sun Microsystems, which posted 24.5 percent sales growth to $240 million, driven largely by 33 percent growth in its sales of Hitachi's high-end Universal Storage Platform, Nisbet said. Sun even topped Network Appliance's 24.4 percent growth rate.
EMC maintained its lead in the external market with a 21.8 percent revenue share, growing 12.6 percent in the quarter. HP came in second with a 17.9 percent share and 10.2 percent growth. IBM had its strongest first quarter in years, Nisbet said, with 14.8 percent growth and a 12 percent share. Dell was number four with 16.5 percent growth and an 8.2 percent share, and Hitachi had an 8.1 percent share on -2.7 percent growth. Hitachi sales do not reflect the company's OEM sales to Sun and HP.
Natalya Yezhkova, IDC Storage Systems senior research analyst, noted that high-end sales systems priced at $500,000 and up showed the strongest year-over-year growth at nearly 40 percent. "Although data protection, digital content and other emerging data-intensive applications are driving market growth mainly for midrange systems, demand for highly-scalable primary storage also remains strong, indicating the ongoing consolidation within corporate data centers," Yezhkova said.
The total network disk storage market (NAS combined with open and iSCSI SAN) grew 15.4 percent year-over-year to more than $2.8 billion. EMC continued to maintain leadership with 28.7 percent revenue share, followed by HP and IBM with 19.3 percent and 10.7 percent revenue share, respectively. Network Appliance and IBM had the strongest revenue growth among the top five, with 24.4 percent and 22.6 percent growth, respectively.
In the NAS market, which grew 14.7 percent, EMC again led with 37.1 percent revenue share, followed by NetApp with a 34.4 percent share. The iSCSI SAN market continued to show strong momentum, growing 37.7 percent to $92 million. NetApp led once again with a 29.7 percent share, followed by EMC's 24.2 percent share.
In the total worldwide disk storage systems market, HP led with a 22.9 percent share, followed by IBM with 17.9 percent. EMC maintained the third position with a 15.6 percent share.