IDC: Growing data need boosts Q3 storage revenue

Pent-up storage needs drove worldwide storage system growth, IDC said

Disk storage revenue went up during the third quarter this year as companies invested more money in adding storage capacity to meet the explosion in data growth, IDC said on Thursday.

Worldwide disk-storage-systems revenue during the third quarter was US$7 billion, growing by 18.5 percent compared to the third quarter last year, IDC said in a statement. The capacity of disk storage systems reached 4,299 petabytes, growing by 65.2 percent compared to the previous year's third quarter.

Storage spending reduced in 2009, and companies have made up for it by investing more in storage recently, which has helped fuel growth in the third quarter, said Liz Conner, senior research analyst at IDC.

Revenue for external disk-storage systems was $5.18 billion, growing by 19 percent year over year. An external storage system can be attached directly to a server or it can be network storage, which includes NAS (network-attached storage) or switched storage such as Fibre Channel SAN (storage area network), iSCSI SAN, Infiniband or switched SAS (serial-attached SCSI).

The fastest-growing segments of the market were NAS and iSCSI SAN, driven by growing adoption of server virtualization, said Natalya Yezhkova, research director of storage systems at IDC.

Revenue from iSCSI SAN (storage-area networking) and NAS grew by 41.4 percent and 49.8 percent year over year, respectively.

A good share of NAS growth was in the high-end segment, which was hit the most during the 2009 economic crisis, Yezhkova said. She attributes the growth of NAS to the recovery in spending on high-end storage.

NAS revenue was also driven by the growth in the size of files, which include images and videos, Yezhkova said. This is a long-term trend as file sizes will continue to grow, Yezhkova said.

Hewlett-Packard and EMC were neck and neck in the first and second spot in total disk storage systems revenue, holding a 19.5 percent market share and 19.4 percent market share, respectively. HP recorded revenue of $1.359 billion for the quarter, growing by 22 percent, while EMC's quarterly disk storage revenue was $1.351 billion, growing by 28.3 percent. IBM was number three with revenues of $1.03 billion, growing by 9.7 percent, and holding a 14.8 percent market share. Dell was in fourth spot with $838 million in revenue, growing by 20.1 percent.

During the quarter, HP outbid Dell to acquire virtualized storage vendor 3Par, and the acquisition closed in late September with HP paying $2.35 billion. 3Par held a 0.83 percent market share of the total external storage-systems revenue during the quarter, IDC said.

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