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Behind The Numbers: Why Rapid Enterprise Storage Growth Seems To Be Over

It's looking like the storage business growth is petering out, with sales from most vendors flat of falling with a couple exceptions, an observation that holds true whether you consider the IDC numbers or the vendors' own quarterly financial reports.

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Flash Storage Sales The Bright Spot, But… 

While IDC estimates of overall enterprise storage revenue relies in large part on how it counts the vendors' sales, there are some numbers not directly reflected in its reporting on those sales.

The fastest-growing part of the storage industry remains flash storage. IDC estimated that all-flash storage array sales grew 17.5-percent year-over-year to reach $2.47 billion, which suggests all-flash storage accounts for about 18.5 percent of total enterprise storage sales.

Sales of hybrid flash storage, which combines flash and spinning disk in an array, reached $2.81 billion, up 8.6 percent over last year, to account for about 21.0 percent of total enterprise storage sales.

However, these numbers show signs of a slowdown in sales. IDC estimated that fourth quarter 2018 all-flash sales rose 37.6 percent year-over-year, compared to a 54.7-percent growth in the first quarter of 2018. Hybrid flash array sales in the fourth quarter rose 13.4 percent year-over-year, compared to a 23.8-percent growth in the first quarter of 2018.

Next, let's break the overall enterprise storage sales down in three different ways.

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