Gartner Says Worldwide External Controller-Based Disk Storage

Market Grew 0.6 Per Cent in First Quarter of 2013

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Worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage vendor revenue totalled $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013, a 0.6 per cent increase from revenue of $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2012, according to Gartner, Inc.

"The first quarter 2013 results represent the 14th consecutive quarter of revenue growth," said Roger Cox, research vice president at Gartner. "However, facing the strong headwinds of a morose global macro-economy, the 0.6 per cent increase is the slowest year-on-year growth rate since the fourth quarter 2009."

EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi/Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and NetApp beat the year-on-year market growth rate in the first quarter (see Table 1). Despite a negative revenue performance by EMC's midrange portfolio, EMC gained share based on the strength of its high-end VMAX, which grew 11.5 per cent annually. Leveraging its year-end fiscal quarter, Fujitsu's focus on its Eternus-branded ECB disk storage products in EMEA beat market growth in all segments of the block-access market. In a reversal of historic patterns, Hitachi/Hitachi Data Systems gained share in the first quarter of 2013 based on the performance of its midrange offerings, in particular the HUS Series and Hitachi Content Active Platform, while its high-end VSP fell short. Noting that clustered Data Ontap is gaining increased traction within its installed base and as a competitive alternative, NetApp displaced IBM as the second-largest ECB disk storage vendor in the first quarter of 2013.

Dell, HP and IBM continue to underperform the market and lose share for fundamentally the same reasons. Their new product year-over-year revenue gains are insufficient to offset the year-on-year decline of the products being replaced. Moreover, Dell may be suffering from organisational and structural issues that are hampering sales. HP continues to struggle with balancing the decline in what it classifies as "traditional storage" with its growing "converged" go-to-market models. IBM's strategy of emphasizing its IP-based disk storage products is gaining traction, but is not yet strong enough to offset declines in technology sourced from NetApp.

On a regional basis, EMEA remains in the grasp of a recession and grew only 1.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 (see Table 2). North America suffered from a deadlock between its executive and legislative branches of government, which impacted growth in the quarter. Asia/Pacific macros, particularly in China, are losing luster, which slowed growth to 1.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2013.

Gartner has added Huawei to its list of worldwide ECB disk storage vendors that are included in the "Quarterly Statistics: Disk Array Storage, All Regions, All Countries, 1Q13 Update" report. Huawei has a complete portfolio of ECB disk storage systems and is gaining worldwide notice.

Gartner ECB disk storage reports reflect vendor-branded hardware-only revenue, as well as hardware revenue associated with financial leases and managed services. Optional and separately priced storage software revenue and storage area network infrastructure components are excluded.

Additional information on the ECB disk storage market is available in the Gartner "Quarterly Statistics: Disk Array Storage, All Regions, All Countries, 1Q13 Update." The report includes vendor market share by data access method, price band, sales channel and operating system segmentation. The report is available on Gartner's web site at
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