Storage Sales Surge In Fourth Quarter

The worldwide disk storage systems market jumped more than 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to a report released Thursday from IDC.

Total revenue for the external disk storage systems market hit $4.7 billion, up $708 million, or 17.9 percent, over the fourth quarter of 2004. Revenue for the overall disk storage systems market grew to $6.8 billion, up 13.1 percent over the same quarter of 2004. Total disk systems capacity hit 653 petabytes, up over 50 percent compared to 2004.

For all of 2005, the worldwide external disk storage systems revenue hit $16.2 billion, up 12.1 percent from the $14.5 billion recorded in 2004, IDC said.

Andrew Monshaw, general manager of system storage for IBM's Systems and Technology Group, said that the year's external disk storage market grew surprisingly well in 2005. "Last year, IDC said it expected the market to grow 4 percent for the year," Monshaw said. "In reality, growth was 12 percent. There's an explosion in data."

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Whether external disk storage or overall disk storage, for both the fourth quarter and all of 2005, the top five vendor list looked similar, with EMC at No. 1, followed by Hewlett-Packard, IBM, EMC reseller Dell, and Hitachi.

For all of 2005, EMC's external disk storage systems revenue was $3.4 billion, giving the company a 20.7 percent market share, according to IDC. While sales rose 10.2 percent over 2004, the company's market share slipped from 21.1 percent last year.

HP had a slightly higher growth rate of 11.9 percent for the year, with revenue reaching $3.0 billion to give it the second spot in 2005. IBM's external disk storage systems revenue rose 23.8 percent year-over-year to reach $2.2 billion. It was followed by Dell, which saw sales rise 36.5 percent to a total of $1.4 billion, and Hitachi, with sales up 4.3 percent to hit $1.3 billion, according to IDC.

Monshaw said he doesn’t expect that growth to let up in 2006, as the amount of data required to be stored for compliance purposes will continue to grow. That growth will fuel the adoption of virtualization technology this year, and will lead to increased demand for tiered storage systems consisting of primary and secondary disk arrays with tape libraries for archiving, he said.

That, in turn, will make storage management the hot topic for the channel in 2006. "There is so much data being created, and so many requirements for managing that data and getting the business benefits from it as to keep this market hot for a while," said Monshaw.