Hyperscale data centers helped lift demand for data storage arrays last quarter, according to IT market research firm IDC.
During the third quarter (Q3) of 2014, global disk storage system sales nearly reached $8.8 billion, a 5.1 percent increase over the same period a year ago. All told, vendors shipped 25 exabytes of capacity in Q3.
IDC research director Eric Sheppard noted that low-end arrays (6 percent growth) and internal server storage (10 percent growth) helped the market eke out some substantial gains. Also during Q3, sales of network-attached storage (NAS) and non-mainframe storage area network (SAN) equipment reached $5.1 billion in sales, a 2.1 percent year-over-year gain.
In spite of it all, it was software-as-a-service (SaaS), Web and cloud services providers that added fuel to the storage market last quarter.
In a statement, Sheppard remarked that the biggest market impact came from sales of storage systems by Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) directly to hyperscale datacenters." Besides driving storage revenues, ODMs are also changing how IDC tracks the market.
IDC explained in a statement that in the past few years ODMs have enabled "Web services and cloud service owners of hyperscale datacenters to design, procure, and/or deploy new storage architectures, with limited or no involvement from traditional IT original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)." It's a state of affairs that is increasingly pitting Web and cloud services providers against on-premise server deployments and changing the IT calculus for businesses.
"This increasing market influence and the importance of maintaining a holistic view of the storage market is what ultimately lead IDC to start tracking ODM Direct systems," concluded IDC.
Regardless of how the results are tabulated, EMC remains the company to beat.
The Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant raked in more than $1.8 billion in sales last quarter, a 3.5 percent year-over-year improvement, for 20.8 percent of the market. HP placed second with $1.2 billion and 14.6 percent share of the market. Rounding out the rest of top five are Dell, IBM and NetApp.
In terms of storage array sales, NetApp trailed EMC with $746 million in sales, enough for second place. IBM came in third with $591 million, followed by HP with $561 million. Hitachi ($432 million) and Dell ($426 million) achieved a statistical tie for fifth place.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.