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While Dell reported its total enterprise solutions business revenue in the second quarter of 2013 rose 8 percent over the same period last year, its enterprise storage revenue actually fell 7 percent.
That followed a 10 percent year-over-year drop in storage revenue in the first quarter, Dell reported.
However, IDC in June reported Dell's first-quarter 2013 storage revenue rose 16.7 percent to give it third place overall in revenue terms after EMC and HP.
Bob Fine, director of product management for Dell storage, said that Dell's move to the top of the storage industry in terms of storage capacity stems from a couple of factors.
Citing IDC reports, Fine said that Dell is the top supplier of external DAS capacity and, due to its strong server business, is the top supplier of internal-attached storage.
Dell is also the No. 3 or No. 4 supplier of external-attached storage, depending on how the list is looked at, Fine said. Its total external storage capacity shipped ranks only below EMC and NetApp in terms of large named vendors, although the "other" category, consisting of the total capacity shipped by smaller firms outside the top named vendors, is also ahead of Dell's capacity shipped.
"This is the first time Dell has been No. 1 since we have been tracking it," Fine said. "That speaks to the success we've had, not only in our new product introductions, but in our storage intellectual property."
Fine pointed to Dell's 2011 closing of its acquisition of storage vendor Compellent as an example of how far the company has come in developing its enterprise storage business.
"Since Compellent joined Dell about two and a half years ago, we've seen that business almost quadruple the average configuration size and number of customers," he said.
Fine explained Dell's growth in storage capacity in the face of its reported drop in storage revenue as a combination of factors, including an overall industrywide drop in storage revenue combined with an increase in customer demand for storage capacity not related to new storage system sales.
NEXT: Fine, Clifford Say Compellent's Upgrades Makes A Difference