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By | Chris Mellor 8th December 2010 12:45

Gartner hands out end of year grades to ECB storage market

Three fliers, five sluggards

Gartner has fingered three storage fliers and five followers in its latest quarterly report on the external controller-based (ECB) storage market.

In the third 2010 quarter, the market grew 16 per cent to $4.64bn from a year ago. Gartner reckons that modular arrays were much more popular than the high-end monolithic arrays, whose revenues decline year-on-year to 24.5 per cent of the total ECB disk market. Shipped terabytes grew 60.4 per cent year-on-year while – and this is an amazing statistic – the price per terabyte decreased by 28 per cent. All global regions grew in double-digits, except EMEA, which is still struggling with economic problems.

Storage fliers

We'll go with the fliers first. Top of the revenue heap was EMC with $1.33bn and a dominating 28.6 per cent market share, up a massive 2.2 percent on the equivalent 2009 quarter. Gartner said the VMAX products did well. It's a massive jump because EMC already had 26.4 per cent of the market and is facing strong competitors.

Top of the revenue share gain heap was NetApp, number three in the revenue amount rankings at $529.9m, and a share gain of 2.8 per cent, outgrowing EMC because of its product strength as a virtual server storage platform.

The third flier was Fujitsu. Yes, Fujitsu, ranked seventh overall with $125.9m revenues and increasing its revenue share by 0.7 per cent. Gartner says this is because of stronger ETERNUS DX8000 sales in Japan. They must have been selling like a runaway train to have that much effect.

Storage also-rans

Now let's turn to the less successful storage vendors. Dell did least badly, returning a 0.1 per cent decline in revenue share to $388.9m and ranking fifth. As many of you probably know from earlier IDC results and commentary, Dell's EqualLogic gear did very well but its co-branded Dell/EMC products saw "continued declines". IBM showed a 0.4 per cent revenue share decline to $597m, retaining its second place ranking overall but facing an up-and-coming NetApp. Although it had a successful year with XIV, and a 112 per cent year-over-year increase, IBM's "spotty performance with its DS-series resulted in a modest decline in market share".

Hopefully the Storwise V7000 will start turning that situation around.

Hitachi and HDS were next, with a 0.6 per cent decline in revenue share to $384.9m. By the way, Gartner does not include a vendor's sales through other vendors in its figures – such as EMC through Dell or Hitachi/HDS through HP and Oracle/Sun. Hitachi/HDS ranks sixth overall.

Then we come to HP, a bit of a disappointment with $445.7m revenue for the quarter, representing a 1.1 per cent revenue share decline. While the rest of HP is pretty much going gangbusters, storage is a bit of a whimpering dog, still. Oil tankers and turning come to mind. Gartner's comment? "HP's market share loss was due to its anaemic position in the fast-growing NAS segment coupled with ongoing EVA year-over-year revenue declines."

Like Dell, HP has a mid-range block array problem and fixing that must be pretty near top of the list for its green ninja turtle Enterprise Storage Servers and Networking boss David Donatelli. Donatelli will, no doubt, be looking to the acquired David-Scott-led 3PAR rescue squad, with Scott now the StorageWorks SVP.

Bottom of the list

Still, HP is not bottom of the list: that dubious distinction falls to Oracle/Sun, at number eight. With revenues of just $95m, Oracle/Sun has seen a 1.7 per cent revenue share fall. Gartner puts the blame for this squarely on Oracle's decision to can its HDS USP resale deal.

The remaining storage ECB revenues were attributed by Gartner to "others: with a $740.3m revenue amount and a 1.9 per cent revenue share fall, a reflection of continued consolidation of sales by big suppliers but a still largish contribution from lots of smaller storage players".

EMC and NetApp had a great year; most of their competitors wallowed behind, failing to keep up. Next year should be different. HP has made progress rejuvenating its products and will, we're sure, do more. Oracle/Sun appears to not care very much about the ECB market, but it does have its Sun 7000 products – and these are no pussycats... IBM has the already mentioned V7000 and Hitachi/HDS its revamped high-end product, the VSP. Perhaps it will replicate the success of EMC's VMAX.

Dell, though... what will Dell do? Trying and failing to buy 3PAR leaves a hole in its strategy. It has recently extended reselling deals with EMC for reduplication and is developing its own object storage, but the big problem observers see is the co-branded Dell/EMC CLARiiiON issue. It looks like Brad Anderson's problem, as he is SVP for Dell's Enterprise Product Group. He'll be sharing the load with Darren Thomas, the Enterprise Storage VP. What will these two be thinking as they wrestle with the problem? ®

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