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IDC: More storage networked than not

For the first time, networked storage accounts for more revenue in a quarter than has storage directly attached to servers. HP boasts the biggest slice of market share.

For the first time ever, networked storage has accounted for more revenue in a quarter than storage directly attached to servers, according to a new report from market researcher IDC.

In the first quarter of 2003, the overall disk storage system market saw another year-over-year decline, though the quarterly drop of 1 percent was narrower than the 8 percent drop in the fourth quarter. The drop in revenue, to $4.8 billion, came despite a 49 percent growth in storage capacity, as cost per gigbabyte continues to drop significantly.

"First-quarter results continue to illustrate increased customer adoption of network storage systems," Charlotte Rancourt, research director at IDC, said in a statement. "Network storage for the first time represents more than half of the total external disk storage systems market, up 5 points from a year ago."

Hewlett-Packard had the largest slice of revenue, at $1.26 billion, though its revenue declined from $1.35 billion a year ago and its share of the market dropped to 26.3 percent from 27.9 percent. IBM, which held the No. 2 spot, saw its market share increase to 19.1 percent from 16.2 percent, as sales climbed nearly 17 percent to $917 million. No. 3 EMC saw its sales drop nearly 10 percent to $559 million, giving it an 11.7 percent share of the market.

Dell Computer, which posted the largest revenue increase of 37.5 percent, jumped to the No. 4 spot, with 7.1 percent market share and sales of $341 million, passing Hitachi and Sun Microsystems. Sun and Hitachi each had revenue of $284 million, good for 5.9 percent market share, but down from a year ago.

But just which company is leading in storage depends on the part of the market that one studies. Overall numbers include storage shipped with servers, while IDC also looks at other areas in the market.

In the total external disk storage system market, revenue decreased 2.7 percent year over year in the first quarter. HP held the top spot with a 19.5 percent revenue share, ahead of EMC at 17.4 percent. In the external Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) market, EMC led with 19.2 percent market share, followed by HP with 18 percent.

In the total networked storage market, which includes both Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN), EMC had the lead with a 26.3 percent market share. In the SAN market, HP had the top spot, with 27.9 percent, followed by EMC with 24.5 percent.

Network Appliance continued to lead the NAS market, with 37.3 percent of the market, followed by EMC, with a 33.7 percent market share.

In a statement, HP said it is pleased with its progress. "Our sustained market leadership is a critical proof point that we're delivering on our promises and helping customers build the storage foundation of an adaptive enterprise," said Bob Schultz, vice president for HP Network Storage Solutions.

Meanwhile, IBM touted its growth as part of a comeback in the market. "IBM continues its gritty comeback in storage with our focus on delivering world-class enterprise products based on open standards and integrated solutions with storage, servers, software and services," Bob Sampson, vice president of sales for IBM's systems group, said in a statement.

EMC said that, of the top three vendors in the external RAID market, it was the only one to gain market share.

"I think the market is focused on sequential progress right now," said EMC spokesman Greg Eden. "These findings are a clear indication that the products we have unveiled over the last six to 12 months are gaining traction with customers."