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The other top vendor, Hitachi and its Hitachi Data Systems business, saw its external disk storage sales fall 6.2 percent over last year to $526 million. However, with HP's 17.5 percent drop in external disk storage sales, Hitachi was still able to jump over HP to grab the No. 4 spot.
The massive shift in Dell's and HP's positions are due in large part to the two companies' huge shift in server sales, said Rich Baldwin, CIO and chief strategy officer at Nth Generation, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP partner.
IDC in May reported a 14.8 percent drop in HP server sales over last year, while Dell managed a 10.1 percent boost in sales over the same time period.
"My HP 3Par storage numbers are up significantly," Baldwin said. "But EVA sales are dropping fast. HP P2000 sales are dropping as well, but should grow with some new products coming up this year."
Baldwin said that HP is working to boost its server sales, which could also be good news for its storage business.
"HP is working with incentives to regain server share," he said. "That's a high priority for them. It will help all around."