Industry watchers say IBM could use a boost to its business, particularly at the high end. A recent Schwab Soundview report said: "IBM continues to show weakness in the high end, with its share down two points [year over year, 16 percent in first-quarter 2004 vs. 18 percent in the first quarter of 2003], which we attribute to share loss in mainframe-attached storage to EMC."
IBM doesn't split out financial results for its storage hardware business from general hardware, but it did say in a recent financial report that "Storage Systems revenue increased for the second quarter and first six months of 2004 compared with the same periods in 2003 due to increased demand for external midrange disk and tape products."
For the first six months, storage revenue increased 10 percent over the first six months of 2003, IBM said.
The company is also expected to upgrade its TotalStorage virtual tape server, a disk-based array that emulates a tape library. While the product has supported only 12 SCSI 3590 tape drives, customers will be able to attach as many as six 3592 Fibre Channel drives. This is expected to improve throughput about 15 percent.