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Dell was the only major vendor to see sales drop over last year, as its move away from reselling EMC's storage lines while concentrating on its own storage brands including its recent Compellent acquisition continued. Dell's external disk storage sales fell 5.9 percent to $444 million, while strong server sales helped keep its total storage sales drop to a tiny 0.1 percent.
HP, Dell, EMC, and NetApp all had big acquisitions which helped them grow their storage business over last year, Conner said. And, for HP, Dell, and EMC, the acquired companies seemed to have grown much faster than if they would have stayed independent, she said.
"These large vendors are seeing things in smaller companies, including new technologies they have not developed in-house," she said. "And for the smaller companies, they're getting a lot of exposure for their products that was not there for them before."