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The worldwide market for external controller-based disk storage grew 8 percent in the first quarter of 2012 over last year, with three vendors -- EMC, NetApp and Dell -- outpacing their competitors to gain market share.
And of the eight vendors dominating the market, EMC was by far the winner not only because it had the largest market share but also because it grew the fastest, according to Stamford, Conn.-based analyst firm Gartner.
In its quarterly report on the state of the external controller-based disk storage market, which includes storage hardware but not software or SAN equipment sales, Gartner reported total vendor revenue hit $5.4 billion in the first quarter, up 8 percent over the $5 billion reported in the first quarter of last year.
Topping the list of the top vendors with about one-third of the entire market was Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC, which shipped about $1.8 billion worth of storage hardware, including hardware from several recent acquisitions including Data Domain, Avamar and Isilon.
EMC's storage revenue, which was more than the next two vendors' revenue combined, rose 16.5 percent over last year, a growth rate that well exceeded that of all its peers.
EMC in April during its first-quarter financial analyst call attributed its strong growth to a combination of across-the-board product growth related to cloud computing, big data and security, as well as to a fast-growing indirect sales channel presence. Sitting in its customary number two position is Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp, which Gartner said had revenue in the first quarter of $691.5 million, up a solid 9.8 percent over last year. That gave NetApp a 12.7-percent share of the overall market, up from its 12.5-percent share last year.
NetApp last month said in its quarterly analyst conference call that its indirect channel sales accounted for 80 percent of its total revenue in the quarter, the highest percentage ever attributed to the channel.
IBM, Armonk, N.Y., was number three thanks to revenue of $600.4 million, according to Gartner estimates. That was up a mere 1.5 percent over last year, giving IBM an 11.0-percent share of the market.
IBM's relatively flat quarter in storage meshed closely with the overall flatness in its business. IBM in April said in its quarterly analyst conference call that its first quarter 2012 was a decidedly mixed quarter that saw sales gains in software and some key areas such as cloud computing but little growth in services and decreased hardware sales.