The reports are out!

It’s another quarter and both Gartner and IDC reports on disk storage market are out.

What does it take to slow down EMC, who is like a behemoth beast mowing down its competition? EMC, has again tops both the charts. IDC Worldwide Disk Storage Tracker for Q1 of 2012 puts EMC at 29.0% of the market share, followed by NetApp at 14.1%, and IBM at 11.4%. In fourth place is HP with 10.2% and HDS is placed fifth with 9.4%.

In the Gartner report, EMC has the lead of 32.5%, followed by NetApp at 12.7% and IBM with 11.0%. HDS held fourth place at 9.5% and HP is fifth with 9.0%.

Here’s a look at the IDC figures compiled in a chart.

IDC reported that the overall market grew 7.1% with revenues close to USD$6 billion. A total of 6,037 Petabytes was shipped, growing 20.8%. That is indeed a healthy sign, despite the catastrophic Thailand floods which affected a big, big chunk of the hard disk industry.

But things are not looking as healthy from the IBM end, as HP as well. IBM lost their second ranking to NetApp is both IDC and Gartner Worldwide External Controller Based (ECB) latest statistics. Here’s the table from Gartner:

IBM reported an anemic growth of 1.5% on year-on-year, quarterly growth, resulting in NetApp leapfrogging IBM for second place. NetApp, from the market conditions, has been going through some rough seas in the past 2 quarters and this second placing is indeed good news to them. But I don’t think they are exactly out of the woods yet and we shall see how NetApp will hold up in the next 2 quarters.

HP is another vendor that has been haemorrhaging for some time now. Despite strong sales reported for 3PAR, their other product line in the LeftHand P4000, MSA and the aging but popular EVA, have not produced stellar results. In fact, as HP attempts to reinvent itself throughout the company, their attention is divided and has little to offer to strengthen their storage lineup. They had only a 1.7% growth according to Gartner, and HDS has taken fourth place with a 9.5% market share, unlike the IDC report which has HP still in fourth place. But HDS is not far along, and growing at a faster pace than HP. So the IDC report would probably correct itself if the trend continues.

Good news is HDS is definitely getting something right, as they continue to gel their storage line up with several new solutions. I got to know about their HUS (HDS Unified Storage) and doing plenty of background work to make their unified solution more unified. I have gotten some old news of them coming out with Application Optimized data protection solution, ala-NetApp’s SnapManager series. It’s about time someone recognized the importance of this category of solutions in HDS and they probably had one of my buddies in HDS Malaysia to thank for, for making HDS realize the potential of application-consistent data protection solutions.

In fact, if you look at the Gartner table, HDS is closing in on IBM and if the trend continues, it will not be a surprise if HDS takes third place in the next 2 quarters. Come on IBM! Your position is in danger!

Dell did not get their numbers published in the IDC report. They got lumped together with the rest, but in the Gartner WW ECB report, Dell was the only other vendor besides EMC which reported double digit growth. They had a 12.4% growth, taking a 7.9% market share into sixth place.

Oracle, despite having a fantastic solution in the ZFS storage, has fared poorly. A paltry USD$70 million is really nothing to be proud of, and losing 17.5% in the latest report.

What’s my take on this? If NetApp, IBM, HDS, HP and Dell do not buck up with better, more innovative technology and have the market perceive their solutions as game changers, they will continue to bite the dust trail left behind by EMC.

EMC is firing their cylinders on all fronts, recently announcing a mega launch of 42 new enhancements and solutions. The update on the VMax 40K was massive and in the new customers eyes and ears, EMC is the company to go for, even though not many would want a 40K. The Data Bridge solution got everybody tweetering, and the X.400 Mavericks in the coming Isilon solution was another super-excitingly-cool piece of news to the techies. They have something for everyone in their mega launch. Everybody felt touched and that is important.

Sure, the local and regional guys would complain that these are US-centric news but the world already a smaller place when the news of technology innovation are known within seconds of their announcements. The customers are getting more informed, smarter and always on the lookout for better vendors to supply to them. EMC is doing just that, and while we can put in our little jabs that their solution is bad (relatively speaking, depending who you are talking to) or their customer service sucks (Malaysian customers are really fickle), their worldwide marketing is doing their job well.

It’s time NetApp, IBM, HP, HDS, Dell and other consider doing the same. We know that they do marketing on the regional basis, but have you seen or heard these guys going up onto the worldwide stage to do what Steve Jobs has been doing for years? Peddling the iPods/Pads/Phones and soon iTV with Tim Cook, Apple creates a marketing phenomena every time they have a few products to launch. They do a massive worldwide event and EMC have been doing this for the last 2 years. They had a mega launch at EMC World last year, and the recent mega launch Mach 2 will definitely have the same marketing effect in the storage industry as well (not as massive as Apple of course, but with the same excitement and coolness factor).

Have you seen IBM, HP, NetApp and HDS doing such marketing of this magnitude? Not much, but Dell did one in London early this year.

Marketing is another fantastic tool in improving marketing share in a subtle way and EMC obviously kept their customers warm and hot with their marketing dollars.

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

3 Responses to The reports are out!

  1. Pingback: The reports are out « Storage Gaga

  2. Pingback: Bazinga: Oracle's Mark Hurd Intros Expanded Dell Partnership

    • cfheoh says:

      Hello Steve,

      I read the Dell/Oracle partnership but what I understand is a partnership that is more server-centric. At the time of writing, I am not too impressed with Dell’s progress. They have been losing market share and bleeding. I would have to disagree with you that Dell is on their way to become Top 3. At the rate they are going, they might event go off the radar of IDC or Gartner.

      The problem at Dell, I believe, is an inherent one. The legacy culture is clashing with the enterprise mindset that Dell wants to built, and it will continue to be that way for a few more years. Michael Dell is desperately trying to get Dell to go private, but his plans are being scuppered by Icahn and company. With the boardroom clashes at the highest level, Dell could suffer the lack of focus on everything they do, let alone Top 6 in the storage industry.

      I beg to differ.


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