IDC: Worldwide disk storage capacity grows 33% in Q4 2009

Open storage systems, including iSCSI SANs, were a bright spot for 2009

The amount of disk storage capacity shipped worldwide grew 33.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009, with more than 3.3 petabytes of capacity sold. And disk storage revenue for the quarter was up 0.2% from the same period a year earlier, to $7.3 billion; it was the first increase in external storage systems sales in more than a year, according to a report released today by market research firm IDC.

However, worldwide external disk storage systems sales dropped by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, according to IDC.

"Although 2009 might have gotten off to a rough start, it ended on a strong note," said Liz Conner, a storage analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

One of the bright spots for 2009 external disk storage sales was in the open networked disk storage market, which is made up of network-attached storage (NAS) and open iSCSI storage-area networks (SAN). Fourth-quarter sales in that market grew 3.6% year over year to $4.2 billion.

Total disk storage revenue, which includes sales of external and internal drives, also grew in the fourth quarter of 2009. It was the first time since the third quarter of 2008 that total sales saw an uptick. Fourth-quarter sales accounted for 29.7% of the entire year's revenue. In 2008, sales in the fourth quarter represented 26.2% of the overall revenue for the year.

"Much of this increase was driven by open networked storage," Conner said.

EMC Corp. maintained its lead in total open networked storage sales, with a fourth-quarter market share of 27.9%, measured in terms of revenue. IBM was No. 2, with market share of 16%. EMC also led the market in total disk storage systems shipped, with 23.7% of the overall revenue in the fourth quarter, followed by IBM with 16.8%, and Hewlett-Packard Co. with 12.1%. NetApp Inc. and Dell Inc. finished the quarter in a statistical tie for fourth place, with revenue shares of 8.3% and 8.1%, respectively.

The open SAN market grew 0.9% from 2008's fourth quarter. EMC also led that market, with 20.4% of the overall revenue, followed by IBM with 19.3%. The NAS market grew 12.6% year over year in the fourth quarter. That market was also led by EMC, with a 50.5% revenue share, followed by NetApp, with 20.2%.

IDC said the iSCSI SAN market continued to show strong growth with a 30% revenue jump year over year in the fourth quarter. Dell led that market with a 31.5% revenue share, followed by EMC with 15.7%.

Steve Scully, an enterprise storage analyst at IDC, said NAS represents 20% of the external disk storage revenue because users are looking for "storage solutions to help them deal with the continued growth in unstructured, file-based data."

"The growing number of unified storage solutions has made it easier for customers to implement one platform for multiple file-based and block-based storage workloads," Scully said.

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 lmearian@computerworld.com.

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