IDC: Storage Sales Boom, With NetApp Pouring On The Gas

In addition to the strong growth in storage sales, the quarter was also characterized by the sales performance of NetApp, which put its pedal to the metal in its quest to catch up to arch rival EMC. However, EMC is assured of keeping its market leadership for some time with its own high growth rate.

IDC on Friday said it estimated that customers around the world purchased a total of 4,956 petabytes of storage capacity in the first quarter of 2011, up 46.3 percent compared to last year's first quarter.

That meant a year-over-year growth in revenue for external disk storage systems of 13.2 percent to about $5.6 billion compared to last year's $4.9 billion.

IDC also estimated that the total disk storage systems market reached $7.5 billion in the first quarter, up 12.1 percent over last year's $6.7 billion.

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IDC breaks storage revenue into two broad classes. The first is total disk storage systems revenue, which encompasses all storage sold including storage internal to servers. The second is total external disk storage systems revenue, which includes storage arrays and other appliances.

Both classes only count the factory revenue, but not OEM's sales of other vendors' products. For instance, a Dell Clariion array manufactured by EMC but sold by Dell would be counted in EMC's total.

For external disk storage systems, EMC maintained its leading position with estimated first quarter revenue of $1.523 billion. That was a solid 24.7 percent growth over last year, and gave EMC a market share of 27.3 percent.

However, the fastest-growing vendor by far was NetApp, which sold an estimated $757 million worth of external disk storage systems, up 37.8 percent over last year. That gave NetApp a solid number two spot with a market share of 13.5 percent.

They were followed by IBM with $681 million in revenue, Hewlett-Packard with $588 million, and Hitachi at $503 million. Hitachi posted a year-over-year growth rate of 26.8 percent, letting it catch up to EMC a bit in terms of market share.

For total disk storage systems, EMC was still the leader at $1.5 billion, up 24.7 percent over last year for a market share of 20.3 percent.

HP, because of its strong server sales, sold $1.4 billion worth of disk storage systems during the quarter, up 14.2 percent over last year.

They were followed by IBM at $1.1 billion, Dell at $857 million, and NetApp at $757 million. NetApp again had the fastest year-over-year growth rate of the top five vendors at 37.8 percent.

EMC's and NetApp's external disk storage systems revenue and total disk storage were the same. The figures are different for HP, IBM, and Dell because of those three companies' sales of servers with integrated storage.

IDC estimated the total open disk storage system market, which includes sales of SAN and NAS storage not tied to specific servers, grew 17.3 percent in the first quarter over last year to reach $4.7 billion. EMC led that part of the market with a share of 30.8 percent, followed by NetApp at 16.1 percent.

For open SAN storage systems, EMC led with a 22.7 percent share, followed by IBM and HP. Dell, however, led the open iSCSI SAN market with a share of 32.9 percent thanks to its fast-growing EqualLogic business.

EMC led the open NAS market with a share in the quarter of 48.8 percent, followed by NetApp at 30.8 percent.