Storage Sales Shine

In a quarter when server sales declined 2 percent, storage sales grew at a double-digit rate, according to IDC. And the real surprise was the performance of Sun Microsystems.
The first quarter of 2006 was a strong one for storage vendors, according to IDC, with the top four vendors all posting double-digit growth.

Worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues grew 10.3 percent from the year-ago quarter to $4.2 billion, according to IDC's Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Quarterly Tracker. The total disk storage systems market (both internal and external) grew 6.7 percent to $5.8 billion. Total disk storage systems capacity shipped hit 627 petabytes, up 51.5 percent.

Brad Nisbet, program manager for IDC Storage Systems, noted that storage systems posted strong growth in a quarter when server sales declined 2 percent. "The comparable positive growth of external disk systems points to the importance of storage in helping customers improve overall business efficiency," he said. "Customers continue to increase their reliance on business data and seek cost-effective ways to store, protect, and manage this critical data."

The biggest surprise among the top 10 external vendors was the performance of Sun Microsystems, which posted 24.5 percent sales growth to $240 million, driven largely by 33 percent growth in its sales of Hitachi's high-end Universal Storage Platform, Nisbet said. Sun even topped Network Appliance's 24.4 percent growth rate.

EMC maintained its lead in the external market with a 21.8 percent revenue share, growing 12.6 percent in the quarter. HP came in second with a 17.9 percent share and 10.2 percent growth. IBM had its strongest first quarter in years, Nisbet said, with 14.8 percent growth and a 12 percent share. Dell was number four with 16.5 percent growth and an 8.2 percent share, and Hitachi had an 8.1 percent share on -2.7 percent growth. Hitachi sales do not reflect the company's OEM sales to Sun and HP.

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