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Disk Storage System Sales Surge

Revenue rose 13.2% due to an increasing demand for storing digitized media and the rebounding economy, reports IDC.

Sales of disk storage systems have seen double-digit growth for the past five quarters according to IDC, a trend being driven by the increasing digitization of media and an economic recovery in certain sectors.

In its Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker, IDC reported that year-over-year revenue growth for disk storage systems was 13.2%, totaling just under $5.6 billion in the first quarter of 2011. The total disk storage systems capacity shipped was 4,956 petabytes, a growth of 46.3% year over year.

"The worldwide disk storage market is off to a strong start in 2011," said Ammita Potnis, senior research analyst for storage systems at IDC, in a release. "Although the market declined sequentially in the first quarter, due to a seasonal budget flush in Q4, year-over-year growth can be seen as end users are taking advantage of easing budget constraints while adopting new capabilities available in the market."

For the quarter, the total disk storage systems market grew to just shy of $7.5 billion in revenue, representing 12.1% growth from the prior year's first quarter.

The growth is being driven by numerous trends, including the digitization of data previously stored on tape and other media. Another factor is the increasing creation of digital information, in particular the next-generation of "fixed" digital content like videos and images, according to IDC. In addition, economic growth in the upper midrange and high-end sectors is fueling demand for more disk storage, said IDC storage analyst Natalya Yezhkova

"With delayed storage purchases during the 2009 crisis, investments in data center upgrades, expansion, and rebuilds started picking up in 2010," said Natalya Yezhkova, research director for storage systems at IDC, in an interview. "But it was the first quarter when sales of high-end systems reached the level of a similar quarter of 2008."

EMC was the leader of the external disk storage system pack, with a 27.3% revenue share in the first quarter, followed by NetApp with a 13.5% market share, and IBM with a 12.2% share. HP nabbed the fourth spot at 10.5% market share, and Hitachi came in at fifth with 9% market share.

The IP-based storage market also saw strong growth last year, with network-attached storage (NAS) hitting 27.1% year-over-year revenue growth. EMC led the NAS market with a 48.8% revenue share followed by NetApp with a 30.8% share.

In the open storage area network (SAN) market, which grew 13.4% year over year, EMC was again the leading vendor with a 22.7% revenue share, followed by IBM in second, and HP in third, with 14.8% and 13.4% market shares, respectively.

The Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) SAN market also had strong growth, posting 23% revenue growth compared with last year's quarter. Dell led this market with a 32.9% revenue share, followed by HP at 14.4%, and EMC with a 14.2% share.

The strong growth in disk storage systems is being driven by midrange disk storage products that include scale-out architecture, file storage, and capacity optimizing features like data deduplication, IDC said. There has also been a renewed interest in Fibre Channel for the high-end market.

Data is growing 20 to 50% annually, according to InformationWeek's 2011 State of Storage Survey, which suggests organizations will need to double their storage capacity every two to three years, which is driving growth in disk storage.

More organizations are turning to solid-state drives (SSDs), with our survey finding that nearly a quarter implemented them, a 37% increase from 2010. Also, data center consolidation, which started with servers, has spread to storage, as IT architects leverage larger arrays, faster networks, and more sophisticated management software to apply economies of scale to storage provisioning. Storage virtualization is another big growth area, according to the survey.

IT teams areas are packing more information on fewer devices, delivering faster throughput while using less space and power, and managing the needs of more applications with fewer people. Our new report shows how smart CIOs will accelerate this trend by adopting new multipurpose arrays and converged networks. Download our report here. (Free registration required.)

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