Disk storage system sales in Q4 top $8.5B, 6.279 petabytes

EMC maintains market lead

In the last quarter of 2011, disk storage systems generated more than $8.5 billion in revenue, representing a 3.5% increase from the prior year's fourth quarter, according to research firm IDC.

For 2011 as a whole, factory revenues in the worldwide external disk storage systems market hit $23.5 billion, for a 10.6% year-over-year increase. The total disk storage systems market, which includes the server market, grew to $31.1 billion in 2011, up 8.2% over 2010.

But it was the amount of capacity on those disk storage systems that skyrocketed in the last quarter. In the fourth quarter, vendors shipped more than 6.279 petabytes, or 22.4% more capacity than they had shipped in the same quarter a year earlier.

"The external disk storage systems market ended 2011 with strong year-over-year revenue growth that helped to push the market to 10.6% growth for the entire year," said Liz Conner, IDC's senior research analyst for storage systems.

Conner said the growth was driven by emerging markets in regions such as China, Brazil, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mature areas such as Western Europe and the U.S. saw growth soften as their economies entered the recession recovery phase.

Fourth-quarter growth was not hampered by flooding in Thailand that occurred in August through October of last year, as supplies had yet to be affected. Floods temporarily shut down as much as 75% of market leader Western Digital's production. The impact of the floods will be felt more in the first quarter of 2012, IDC said.

"The enterprise storage market is expected to start feeling the brunt of this shortage in 2012, resulting in minimal impact on the fourth quarter and 2011 as a whole," Conner said.

In 2011, EMC and Hewlett-Packard led the market for total disk storage systems revenue, with market shares of 21.5% and 18.5%, respectively. They were followed by IBM with 15.4% and Dell with 11.4%.

In the fourth quarter, EMC maintained its lead in external disk storage systems with a 29.4% revenue share. IBM held on to second place with market share of 15.2%, followed by NetApp with 11.2% and HP with 10.3%. Hitachi ended the quarter in fifth place, with a market share of 9.2%.

The total open networked disk storage market (NAS combined with Open/iSCSI SAN) grew 9.6% year over year in the fourth quarter to $5.6 billion in revenues. EMC also maintained its lead there with a 32.6% revenue share, followed by IBM with 14.6%.

The NAS market declined 1.2% year over year; it was led by EMC with a 48.8% revenue share and followed by NetApp with 29.4%.

Dell continues to lead the iSCSI SAN market, which saw quarterly revenue growth of 16.6% over the same period a year earlier. Dell was followed by EMC in second and HP in third with 20.4% and 12.8% market shares, respectively.

High-end storage systems, those with an average selling price of $250,000 or more, met expected seasonal trends with the highest quarter-over-quarter growth in revenue.

"The share of high-end storage systems increased from 28.2% in 2010 to 30.0% in 2011. This increase was most notable outside the United States," said IDC analyst Amita Potnis. "Drivers for this increase include economic recovery, storage consolidation, and data center build-up and upgrades."

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 email address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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