While the worldwide storage software market grew a solid 10-plus percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, that growth was concentrated among a handful of storage hardware vendors.
Research firm IDC this month released its quarterly storage software report, which found that fourth-quarter 2011 storage software sales reached $3.8 billion, up 10.5 percent over the $3.4 billion reported for the same period as last year.
The strong fourth-quarter sales was a quarterly record, according to IDC, and led to full-year 2011 revenue of $14.6 billion, up 11.6 percent over 2010 sales.
For the fourth quarter, the primary winners were storage hardware vendors that also sell software, much of which is tied to their hardware. These included EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi. NetApp saw its storage sales fall vs. last year.
EMC was the top storage software vendor for the fourth quarter of 2011, with sales of $973 million, up 12.3 percent vs. the same period last year. No. 2 overall was IBM, which saw its storage software sales grow 31.7 percent to $583 million.
At No. 3 was Symantec, the only nearly pure-play software vendor in the top six, which saw its storage software sales grow 0.3 percent over last year to reach $540 million.
NetApp was the fourth largest overall seller of storage software despite a 1.3 percent dip in sales vs. last year to $308 million. Even so, NetApp's strong growth in storage replication software took it to within a couple million dollars of rival EMC in this part of the market.
HP was in fifth place at $248 million due to its 2011 $10-plus billion acquisition of U.K.-based Autonomy. IDC did not include Autonomy's fourth-quarter 2010 revenue as part of HP's storage software sales last year, thereby skewing HP's growth for the year.
Sixth place went to Hitachi, which saw its storage software revenue grow 29.3 percent to $189 million.
The "other" vendors in the storage software market saw sales drop 3.7 percent over the last year to $949 million, IDC said.
Of those, CommVault was the only one to appear in the top five vendor lists for specific types of storage software, including data protection and recovery software and archiving software.
Among other IDC findings, Symantec led in data protection and recovery software, followed by IBM, EMC, HP and CommVault; EMC led in storage replication software, followed by NetApp, IBM, Hitachi and HP; EMC led in storage and device management software, followed by IBM, Hitachi, NetApp and HP; and EMC led in storage infrastructure software, followed by Symantec, Hitachi, IBM and NetApp.