Worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage vendor revenue totalled $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2012, an 8 per cent increase from revenue of $5 billion in the first quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. The first quarter of 2012 was the 10th consecutive quarter of revenue growth, and its results met Gartner's expectations of an 8 per cent year-over-year increase.
"Revenue by host interface protocol and regional geography varied from Gartner's 4Q11 forecast update," said Roger Cox, research vice president at Gartner. "Block-access host interface notably associated with SAN infrastructures came in at 4 per cent year-over-year growth in vendor revenue against a forecast of 5.2 per cent, while file-access beat the Gartner forecast with 22.9 per cent year-over-year growth, four percentage points higher than Gartner's forecast."
While there may have been occasions when the ECB disk storage vendors were unable to secure a specific hard-disk drive (HDD) capacity, the issues presented by the October 2011 Thailand flood are largely behind them. HDD pricing for ECB disk storage systems remains above preflood levels on a per-terabyte basis.
With a 2.4 per cent market share increase in the first quarter of 2012, EMC continued to dominate the market. Observing that 21.9 per cent of its total ECB disk storage revenue came from recent acquisitions (Data Domain, Avamar and Isilon), EMC was No. 1 in the worldwide ECB disk storage market (download Table 1 below this page).
Both NetApp and Dell also gained share in the first quarter of 2012. Dell's ECB disk storage acquisition strategy is beginning to pay off for it, with 73.5 per cent of its ECB disk storage revenue being produced by its EqualLogic PS series and by the Dell Compellent Storage Center platform. Relying on the proven value propositions of its core Data ONTAP technology, NetApp was one of three vendors to achieve share gains in the first quarter of 2012.
Hitachi/HDS increased its VSP platform revenue by 24.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period a year earlier, increasing its high-end enterprise (aka monolithic frame-based) market share by 6.3 percentage points. With a 42.9 per cent year-over-year increase in revenue, Oracle's ZFS storage appliance was just one of two vendors to gain share in the network attached storage (NAS) market in the first quarter. Although it lost 0.7 percentage points of market share, IBM increased its percentage of internally developed ECB disk storage platforms to 70.4 per cent of its total first-quarter 2012 revenue, up 9 percentage points over the first quarter of 2011. HP's 3PAR, which grew 137.4 per cent year-over-year, was HP's lone first-quarter 2012 highlight as EVA, P4000 LeftHand, and the P2000 MSA series continued to decline.
With 17.1 and 14.1 year-over-year vendor revenue growth, the Latin America and North America regions did exceptionally well compared with Gartner forecast expectations, while the Asia/Pacific region, at only 4.1 per cent year-over-year growth, and Japan, with a 12.3 per cent decline, fell far short.
Gartner ECB disk storage reports reflect revenue from new vendor-branded hardware only, as well as hardware revenue associated with financial leases and managed services. Optional and separately priced storage software revenue and storage area network infrastructure components and used ECB disk storage systems are excluded.
Additional information on the ECB disk storage market is available in Gartner's "Quarterly Statistics: Disk Array Storage, All Regions, All Countries, 1Q12 Update." The report includes vendor market share by data access method, price band, sales channel and operating-system segmentation. The report is available on Gartner's web site at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2035115.