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Pure-Play Vendors Rule The Storage Roost

With the amount of data to be stored growing at 50 percent-plus per year, it's no surprise that storage vendors are selling a lot more storage. According to Gartner, the worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage market surpassed $19.4 billion in 2010, an 18.1 percent increase from 2009 revenue and beating the previous high set in 2008 by $1.4 billion. What may come as a surprise is that EMC increased its market lead by 3 points and NetApp jumped from sixth to third spot among the top vendors.

What that tells Pushan Rinnen, a Gartner storage analyst, is that despite the best efforts of the server vendors, the pure-play storage vendors are still the preferred choice. "Lots of users are still trying to buy the best-of-breed products from NetApp and EMC, and not from the server vendors like IBM and HP [or Dell and Oracle/Sun]."

In addition to the growth in data, Gartner attributes the strong results to storage infrastructure modernization, expanded server and desktop virtualization projects, disk-based backup and archiving deployments, new file-oriented applications, and cloud-based service offerings. The company says customers are showing a willingness to invest in new and modern ECB disk storage solutions that address complexity, reduce operating expenses, and improve utilization while satisfying demanding service-level agreements.

EMC took top spot with 28 percent of 2010 ECB disk storage revenue, and 28.2 percent in the fourth quarter. NetApp delivered the best performance, increasing revenue 50.9 percent from 2009. IBM held down second place, with HP in fourth, followed by HDS, Dell, Oracle/Sun and Fujitsu. Oracle was the only top-eight vendor to lose market share, dropping from 4 percent in 2009 to 2.5 percent last year. Collectively, the top six vendors accounted for more than 80 percent of revenues.

IDC's take the on the market was similar to Gartner's although it put NetApp and HP in a virtual tie for third place with an 11.1 percent share, followed by Dell in fifth place with a 9.1 percent share.

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