Data Storage Capacities Soar

The capacity of disk storage systems shipped worldwide in the third quarter grew by nearly 50 percent from a year earlier, and EMC maintained its lead in most types of disk storage systems, research company IDC reported Thursday.

The capacity of all disk storage systems sold in the quarter, including external and internal arrays, NAS (network-attached storage) and Open SANs (storage area network), came to 1.3 exabytes, IDC said in a press release. This represented a 49.4 percent rise from the third quarter of 2006. An exabyte is 1 million terabytes. IDC defines a disk storage system as a set of storage elements associated with three or more disks.

Revenue for all disk storage systems grew 4.3 percent from a year earlier to $6.3 billion, IDC said.

EMC kept a substantial lead in revenue for external disk storage systems as well as for the NAS and open SAN markets, according to IDC. The Hopkinton, Massachusetts, company brought in 21.9 percent of the revenue for external disk storage in the quarter, while IBM and Hewlett-Packard were in a dead heat for second place with 14 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively. Dell and Hitachi trailed them, but Dell posted the strongest growth of the top five vendors, at 17.9 percent.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are rapidly embracing networked storage, to the point where low-end systems -- priced under US$15,000 -- accounted for a majority of growth in this area, IDC said. Small enterprises are wrestling with more complex storage requirements and growing more knowledgeable about networked storage, according to IDC. But mid-priced and high-end systems also sold well.

A particularly strong segment of the market was iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface), where revenue grew 43.9 percent to $207 million. Network Appliance led that business with 20.5 percent of total revenue, ahead of EMC's 18 percent.

But EMC was the revenue leader in the networked disk storage market (including NAS and Open SAN) with 27.8 percent of the market, trailed by HP and IBM. Its lead was strongest in NAS, where it had a 38.1 percent share, followed by Network Appliance's 27.2 percent.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the parent company of IDG News Service.