The Comeback Kid: HP Q4 Storage Sales Up 25 Percent, Says Gartner

Hewlett-Packard's fourth-quarter 2013 storage sales recovered in a big way to give the company the highest growth rate of the entire industry, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.

EMC, NetApp and Fujitsu also showed growth in the fourth quarter, while IBM, Hitachi, Dell and Oracle saw their worldwide external controller-based disk storage sales fall during the quarter, Gartner wrote Monday.

The storage industry as a whole grew 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, but only 1.4 percent for all of 2013.

[Related: Gartner Q4 Server Shipment Data: HP Beats Dell Again]

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EMC remained the top vendor in the fourth quarter, followed by IBM, NetApp and HP, Gartner reported. Hitachi, Dell, Huawei, Fujitsu and Oracle rounded out the top nine vendors.

HP's fourth-quarter 2013 storage business grew 25.3 percent vs. the same period last year, helping it overtake Hitachi and HDS to become the fourth largest storage vendor in the quarter at $600.7 million. That puts HP on a trajectory to possibly overtake NetApp for the No. 3 position.

EMC kept its solid No. 1 position in the fourth quarter with worldwide external controller-based disk storage sales of $2.3 billion, up about 9.2 percent compared with last year.

IBM, despite a 7.8 percent drop in storage sales, kept its second place position with sales of $900.3 million. NetApp held on to third place with sales of $658.1 million, up 3.3 percent over last year.

HP's solution providers said they were not surprised to see HP's storage business grab a bigger share of the market.

HP has been offering some very positive incentives to capture both storage and server market share, said Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

"With HP 3Par, we're seeding the garden," Venero said.

HP has done a good job of building interest in the HP 3Par 7400, the midrange version of the company's flagship storage offering, said Rich Baldwin, CIO and chief strategy officer at Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP channel partner.

HP has recently started offering starter 3Par storage blade chassis with eight drives at no cost as a way to give customers the opportunity to try HP storage, Baldwin said.

"We might be going into a shop with Dell servers and NetApp storage and show the customer 3Par storage, but the customer might find it hard to justify switching," he said. "This new option could be the incentive to make the switch."

Two companies took major hits in the fourth quarter, Gartner reported. Dell's sales fell 14.4 percent as an increase in Dell Compellent storage sales was not enough to overcome a drop in the sales of its other product lines. Oracle's storage sales fell 14.0 percent due to inadequate market coverage, Gartner reported.