NAS grows as external controller-based disk market slides

March 11, 2010 -- Unstructured data is becoming the reigning storage hog in the data center as the network-attached storage (NAS) market continues to grow, while the market for block-access, controller-based disk arrays continues to decline, according to the latest numbers from Gartner.

According to the research firm's latest report ("Quarterly Statistics: Disk Array Storage, All Regions, All Countries, 4Q09 Update") the external controller-based (ECB) disk storage market took a severe hit as the economic downturn whacked the market for an 8.6% year-over-year decline from $18 billion in 2008 to $16.3 billion in 2009 – the first annual decline for the market since 2002.

Gartner research vice president, Roger Cox, says the large monolithic/frame-based disk array market declined 21.1%, and for the first time since Gartner has been reporting on the ECB disk storage market, the segment represented less than 30% of the total market.

Cox says, "This result, in part, reflects the advancements that the lower-cost modular disk array systems have made in performance and capacity scalability, as well as robust data services associated with local and remote replication."

Gartner says unstructured data growth is boosting the NAS market as the segment grew 1.4% in '09, while the block-access modular ECB disk storage segment declined 2.8%. The special purpose disk archiving system segment experienced a big drop-off, falling 31.6% in revenue.

EMC remained the market leader in 2009, in part because of its leadership in the monolithic/frame-based, block access modular disk array and special-purpose disk archiving storage systems markets and the acquisition of Data Domain. IBM is second in market share, growing 11.9% in the fourth quarter, according to the report.

Gartner ECB disk storage reports reflect hardware-only revenue, as well as hardware revenue associated with financial leases and managed services.

On a related note, IDC recently released its latest Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker report that shows the external and internal disk array markets experienced the first year-over-year growth since the third quarter of 2008. The report also states that the NAS and iSCSI SAN array markets posted modest year-over-year growth (See Dave Simpson's latest blog: "Who are the top 5 array vendors?").

For more info on the ECB disk storage market, check out the full report on Gartner's website. The report includes vendor market share by data access method, price band, channel and operating system segmentation.

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posted by: Kevin Komiega

Kevin Komiega, Senior Editor
by Kevin Komiega
Senior Editor

Kevin Komiega has been the Senior Editor of InfoStor since 2005. He was previously a senior news writer with SearchStorage.com and held a position as a public relations account executive with Porter Novelli, Boston. Kevin also spent four years running tape backup operations at the University of Rhode Island's Academic Computer Center. He can be contacted at kkomiega@quinstreet.com.

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