External disk storage market recovers from slump

EMC continues to dominate as shipments of disk storage systems for the fourth quarter topped 10.2 exabytes

The market for external disk storage systems has recovered from a slump, with factory revenues up 2.4 percent to $6.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to an IDC study.

Internal plus external disk storage systems produced $8.8 billion in revenue, up 1.3 percent from the last quarter of 2012 and jumping 17.2 percent from 2013's third quarter, which was seasonally slow.

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IDC defines a disk storage system as a set of storage elements either inside or outside a server, including controllers, cables and (in some instances) host bus adapters, associated with three or more disks. It said total capacity of such systems shipped in the fourth quarter topped 10.2 exabytes (10.2 billion gigabytes), an increase of 26.2 percent from a year before.

The market was able to recover due to year-end spending, improved sentiment about the economy, and a desire to address longstanding infrastructure inefficiencies, it said, with vendors with recent product refreshes most able to capitalize on the demand.

Storage giant EMC continued its dominance of the worldwide external disk storage systems market with a 32.9 percent market share, up from 30.7 percent a year earlier. IBM had a market share of 13 percent, down from 14.9 percent, and was followed by NetApp, Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi.

EMC was also tops for the quarter in the internal and external worldwide disk storage systems market with a market share of 25.8 percent, up from 23.8 percent a year earlier. It was followed by HP with 16.3 percent, up from 15.9 percent.

As cloud storage attracts more and more users, major players like EMC are being challenged by cloud-services startups such as Box, which has been making moves to gain more large enterprise customers such as mining company Anglo American.

In another example of the cloud trend, investment management company London & Capital recently outsourced its tape-based data backup to a cloud-based service managed by Oncore IT.

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