More than 28 billion gigabytes of storage shipped last quarter

More than 28 billion gigabytes of storage shipped last quarter

Worldwide enterprise storage shipments were up more than 41% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2015

Worldwide data storage hardware sales saw a boon in the first quarter of this year, with a 41.4% leap over the same quarter in 2014.

In all, 28.3 exabytes (or 28 billion gigabytes) of capacity shipped out during the quarter, according to IDC's Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Market Update released today.

How much is an exabyte? It's one quintillion bytes or a one followed by 18 zeros. It's a lot.

According to IDC, worldwide enterprise storage systems vendor revenue grew 6.8% year over year during the first quarter, to almost $8.8 billion.

The robust quarter followed a busy end-of-year spending environment as the enterprise storage market "fell back into what has become a familiar market pattern.

"Spending on traditional external arrays fell during the quarter while demand for server-based storage and hyperscale infrastructure was up strongly," IDC said in its report.

"Hyperscale" refers to distributed infrastructures that support cloud and big data processing and can scale to thousands of servers.

The largest revenue growth occurred in the server market, where internal storage sales were up 23.3%. Internal storage sales benefited from healthy server sales and not just upgrades to existing server infrastructures. Storage systems that were sold directly to hyperscale or internal cloud data center users accounted for 12.6% of total spending in the quarter, up by 22.9% year over year.

Venders leading the enterprise disk storage systems market followed a familiar pattern, with EMC in the top position with 17.4% of all spending, followed by HP, which had 14.6% of total market spending during the quarter.

Dell and NetApp accounted for 10.2% and 8.7%, respectively.

"IBM's market share shrank to 6% during the quarter due largely to the sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo," IDC said.

External disk storage system revenue fell during the first quarter and was down by 0.6% to $5.6 billion year over year.

High-end storage array sales were up 1.3% from a year ago to $1.5 billion. IDC said the uptick represented a "reprieve from the protracted drop in sales the high-end market has been experiencing."

Entry-level storage sales grew by 1.1% to $1.4 billion, whereas midrange arrays, which accounted for the largest portion of the market, declined by 2.4% to $2.8 billion.

The most popular external storage arrays were all-flash models and hybrid flash arrays, which combine NAND flash with hard disk drives. All-flash and hybrid arrays drove the external storage market in the first quarter with 81.6% revenue growth ($403.1 million) and 9.1% ($2.5 billion) year-over-year growth, respectively.

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