The sales of storage software last year produced record revenues of more than $14 billion in 2011, according to market research firm IDC.
During the calendar fourth quarter of 2011, storage software sales increased 10.5% year over year to almost $3.8 billion. That made the quarter the biggest sales quarter on record and helped push the full year revenue total up 11.6% over 2010 to a record high of $14.16 billion.
According to IDC's Worldwide Storage Software QView report EMC, IBM and Symantec topped storage software suppliers with 25.7%, 19.8% and 15.4% of the market, respectively.
Four of the seven storage software markets that IDC tracks grew at a double-digit pace in 2011 and continue to exhibit strong growth potential, the research firm reported. Those four markets include: Data Protection and Recovery Software, Storage Replication Software, Storage Infrastructure Software and Storage and Device Management Software.
In the fourth quarter, Storage & Device Management and Data Protection & Recovery software revenue led the segments IDC tracks with 17.3% and 13.8% growth, respectively.
"Despite being a mature market, Data Protection & Recovery sales benefited greatly by the challenges introduced by virtualization and the requirement to guarantee high standards of recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) within these environments," said Eric Sheppard, research director for storage software at IDC.
The Archiving software market also saw strong growth, with revenue up 12% during the calendar year and 7.3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. "Growth in the archiving segment continues to be fueled by the adoption of cloud-based archiving solutions and growth in unstructured file data in both physical and cloud infrastructure," said Marshall Amaldas, senior research analyst for IDC's Storage Software Group.
The storage software market saw some high-profile acquisitions in 2011 that directly affected Archiving software market share, IDC said. Autonomy's acquisition of Iron Mountain was followed by HP's acquisition of Autonomy, which catapulted HP into the No. 2 market share position behind IBM.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.