Double-digit growth for disk arrays

By Ann Silverthorn

—Gartner's latest report on the worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage market reveals that most major storage vendors experienced double-digit growth in the second quarter of 2005. According to the report, which compares Q2 2005 to Q2 2004, the only major vendor that did not experience double-digit growth was Sun Microsystems, with a 6.7% decline.

Overall, worldwide ECB disk storage revenue grew 6% year-over-year, to $3.54 billion.

EMC was number one at $824 billion, with a revenue gain of 11%. EMC is also the market share leader and increased its market share nearly one point to 23% compared to the same period last year. EMC's midrange Clariion disk arrays and Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) platforms fueled the growth, according to Gartner.

Dell stood out with the highest revenue gain, at 31%. "Dell's growth was fueled by Dell/EMC co-branded products, mainly the CX300 and AX100 series," says Roger Cox, a vice president in Gartner's storage research group.

With the second-highest revenue gain (21%), Network Appliance's revenue growth actually slowed because its FAS3000 series required a lengthy customer evaluation period, according to the Gartner report.

Network Appliance held on to its top position in the NAS and "unified storage" market with a 55% revenue share. (Gartner does not include CAS shipments in its NAS revenue rankings.)

IBM's year-over-year revenue gain was 17%, supported by a rebound in DS4000 midrange disk array revenue and strong DS8000/DS6000 revenue growth.

Continuing its apparent turnaround, which started in the first quarter of this year, was Hewlett-Packard with an 11% revenue increase. "The refreshed Enterprise Virtual Array [EVA], in association with general strength in the entry-level disk array market and improvement in worldwide field execution, are contributing to HP's positive results in the hotly contested external controller-based disk storage market," says Cox.

Hitachi/HDS gained market share slightly from 7.6% to 8.1%. The Gartner report attributes the company's lackluster performance to its inability to take advantage of the high-growth midrange disk array market, relying instead on its high-end TagmaStore USP and Lightning arrays.

Regarding Sun's 6.7% revenue drop, Gartner notes that the decline is not as steep as it was in the first quarter of 2005. Although Sun's midrange disk arrays and worldwide field sales initiatives have strengthened, they have not offset the weakness in Sun's high-end disk array revenues.

Overall, the top-seven external disk array vendors accounted for 82.6% of total revenues, while the "other" vendors' market share declined from 21.9% in Q2 2004 to 17.4% in Q2 2005.

Additional information on the external controller-based disk storage market is available in the Gartner Dataquest report, "All Major Storage Vendors Except Sun Experienced Double-Digit Revenue Growth in 2Q05." The report is available at www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=485511

This article was originally published on September 23, 2005