The market for enterprise data storage experienced a 2.2 percent year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the latest figures from International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker. Though shipments were up 10.7 percent, totaling 35.5 exabytes, vendors saw their sales drop to $10.4 billion in Q4.
"The enterprise storage market closed out 2015 on a slight downturn, as spending on traditional external arrays continues to decline. Over the past year, end user focus has shifted towards server-based storage, software-defined storage, and cloud-based storage," said IDC research manager, Liz Conner, in a statement.
The industry is in the midst of reinventing itself, observed Conner, adding that "traditional enterprise storage vendors are forced to revamp and update their product portfolios to meet these shifting demands."
Flash storage continues its takeover of the data center. The all-flash array market jumped 71.9 percent in Q4, year-over-year, on $955.4 million in revenue. Hybrid flash arrays generated $2.9 billion in revenue and now represent 28 percent of the overall market.
Little wonder, then, that EMC declared 2016 the year of all-flash for primary storage. Last month, the data storage giant – soon to get gobbled up by Dell – announced two new all-flash configurations of its flagship storage arrays, the VMAX 450 and VMAX 850.
As per usual, EMC was the leading external enterprise storage vendor with over $2.2 billion in sales and nearly 32 percent of the market. IBM took second place with $791.4 billion in revenue and 11.3 percent of the market. Rounding out the top five are HP Enterprise (HPE) and NetApp in a statistical tie for third place with Hitachi bringing up the rear.
Despite the fourth-quarter slump, the industry as a whole ended 2015 on a positive note.
Vendors sold $37.1 billion worth of enterprise storage systems last year, 2.2 percent improvement over 2014. EMC was again the leading provider with a 19.2 percent share of the market and $7.1 billion in revenue. HPE, in the number two spot, was the biggest gainer with $5.7 billion in sales, a 12.6 percent increase, and a 15.5 percent share of the market.
Dell came in third with $3.6 billion in revenue, a slight 0.6 percent decline compared to 2014. IBM dropped a whopping 23.2 percent on sales of $2.7 billion and NetApp suffered a 14.3 percent decline on sales of $2.6 billion.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.