For EMC, a 25% Fourth Quarter Jump

The storage concern shows that 2003 was a kinder year than its predecessor -- 15 percent kinder in total revenues.

EMC Thursday reported a 25 percent year-over-year revenue growth for the final quarter of 2003 in a strong indicator of the company's success in selling the concept of information lifecycle management (ILM) to its customers.

Fourth quarter revenue was $1.86 billion, a 25 percent rise from total revenue of $1.49 billion in the same, year-ago period in 2002.

Profits came in at $220 million, or 9 cents per share, for the Hopkinton, Mass., storage systems vendor. During the fourth quarter of 2002, EMC declared a net loss of $64 million, or 3 cents per share.

In a telling example of how 2003 turned out for the storage industry compared to 2002, the bellwether tallied 15 percent greater total sales -- $6.24 billion for 2003 compared to the $5.44 billion it reported for 2002. Net income for 2003 was $496 million or 22 cents per share compared with a loss of $119 million or 5 cents per share for 2002.

EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci attributed the financial growth to strong demand for the company's ILM portfolio, which includes hardware, software and services tailored to help customers manage their data from the time it is created until it is ready to be eliminated.

The growth in data storage needs for enterprise customers comes in the wake of corporate accounting scandals that prompted new federal record-keeping rules, which is helping to drive the growth of ILM as a sector.

Records compliance EMC made two major acquisitions in the latter half of 2003 to meet these needs for customers, including data archiving specialist Legato Systems and content management provider Documentum.

"The strength of our broadened product portfolio, combined with outstanding execution and an improving global economy, made for a solid finish to 2003," Tucci said in a public statement. "Our information lifecycle management strategy is being well received by both long-standing and new customers who are grappling with the challenges of compliance, information protection and constrained budgets."

EMC said its core storage systems -- Symmetrix, CLARiiON and Centera -- experienced double-digit sequential revenue growth compared with the third quarter of 2003, with sales for its mid-market CLARiiON system reaching nearly $1 billion for the full year.

Sales for EMC's Celerra NS600G NAS gateway grew 33 percent compared to the same period a year ago, accounting for 43 percent of the outfit's Q4 revenues.

In late 2003, EMC took the next step along its path to offering a complete ILM suite by moving to acquire server virtualization concern VMware. Were this deal to succeed, EMC would be armed with a considerable piece with which to orchestrate a utility computing strategy, which rivals IBM, HP and Veritas are all working to articulate to varying degrees.

In the meantime, the company continues to pick up key contracts. EMC Thursday said it has inked a $40 million deal to provide Fibre Channel switches for its storage area network (SAN) , content addressed storage, and network attached storage (NAS) for the Pentagon Renovation Office (PENREN), a program to bring the Department of Defense's IT infrastructure up to current technology standards. PENREN supports the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corps.

In a separate $4.3 million deal, PENREN will use LEGATO Software's business continuity software coupled with EMC's Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) and Global Services to automate monitoring and failover for its applications.






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