In more good news for the rebounding storage industry, revenues from external disk systems grew 19% in Q3 2010 vs. Q3 2009, topping the $5 billion mark, according to a report from IDC. Revenues for the total (external and internal) disk systems market grew to almost $7 billion, representing an 18.5% year-over-year growth rate.

Total capacity shipped grew 65.2%.

In the external array market, EMC held on to its #1 spot by a wide margin, with $1.35 billion in Q3 revenue and a 26.1% market share. IBM was a distant second with $667 million in revenue and a 12.9% market share.

But the real race is for the #3 position, where NetApp and HP are in a virtual dead heat. (Even dead heats are virtual these days.) NetApp had an 11.6% market share in Q3, followed closely by HP with an 11.1% slice. IDC considers it to be a statistical tie when less than a one percent revenue difference separates two vendors.

Dell finished fifth, with a 9.1% market share on revenue of $471 million.

All of the top five vendors had healthy, double-digit revenue growth (ranging from 11.3% for HP to 28.3% for EMC), but it was NetApp that busted the charts with a whopping 54.9% growth rate.

Looking at the leader board trends over the past few quarters, it would seem safe to say that NetApp has blown past HP and is closing in on Big Blue, except for HP’s 3PAR acquisition. With HP’s marketing muscle behind the 3PAR product line, revenue could crank up pretty quickly. For now, however, 3PAR had a market share of only 0.83% in the third quarter. (Isilon’s slice was 0.75%.)

Other highlights from the IDC report: The NAS market was the fastest-growing segment of the overall storage systems market, posting 49.8% growth in Q3 2010 vs. Q3 2009. EMC led the NAS market with a 46.6% share, followed by NetApp with a 28.9% share.

The iSCSI segment of the overall market also did well, posting 41.4% revenue growth, with Dell/EqualLogic in the top spot (33.8% share) followed by EMC and HP in a tie for second place.

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