Disk storage sales surge in 2005, says IDC

External disk storage system sales jumped nearly 18% to US$4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to an IDC report. Shelley Solheim reports

An explosion of data and the availability of storage systems that can help businesses tackle data protection and business continuity issues drove a record year of growth for the disk storage systems market in 2005, according to an IDC US report.

External disk storage system sales worldwide jumped nearly 18% to US$4.7 billion (NZ$7.5 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2005 from Q4 in 2004, and for the year grew 12% to US$16 billion from the prior year, IDC says.

“We’ve seen kind of blasé growth since the bottom fell out in 2001; it’s nice to see that throughout 2005 we were accelerating,” says Brad Nisbet, programme manager for IDC storage systems.

Sales of midrange systems, which IDC defines as priced between US$50,000 and US$149,999, were especially strong, says Nisbet.

“The sweet spot continues to be midrange products,” Nisbet says. “A lot of the features and functionality once only in the high end has migrated its way down to lower segments of market. That combined with the fact that many midrange products offer multiple tiers of storage is driving the growth.”

Multiple-tiered storage is helping users to address such challenges as data protection and business continuity, Nisbet says.

EMC held the lead in the external storage systems market in the fourth quarter, taking about 21% of the market. Behind EMC was Hewlett-Packard, with 18% and IBM, with 16%, which both showed marked improvement from the prior year, Nisbet says.

“For some time, we had seen companies like EMC and Dell and NetApp that were the ones that stood out, while everyone else was lacklustre and flatish year-over-year,” Nisbet says. “It’s nice to see HP and IBM in particular with good growth. IBM really turned themselves around and are executing well now, and the same can be said for HP.”

The network disk storage market, which includes NAS (network-attached storage) and Open and iSCSI SANs (storage area networks), grew 24% to about US$3 billion in the 2005 fourth quarter from the 2004 fourth quarter. EMC led in that market, with about 27% share, followed by HP, with 20%, and IBM, with 14%.

Turning to the NAS market, revenue grew 23% in the 2005 fourth quarter from the 2004 Q4. EMC led that market as well with 40% share, followed by NetApp with 32% share.

The iSCSI SAN market soared 130% from the prior year’s quarter to US$94 million.

NetApp led the market, with 26% share, followed by EMC with 21% share. All told, the overall disk storage systems market grew about 11% to US$23.7 billion in 2005. HP led the overall market with 23% share, followed by IBM with 20%, and EMC with 14%.

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