Disk storage sales surge in '05

External disk storage system sales jumped nearly 18 percent to $4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to an IDC report.

An explosion of data and the availability of storage systems that can help businesses tackle data protection and business continuity issues drove a record year of growth for the disk storage systems market in 2005, according to a new IDC report.

External disk storage system sales worldwide jumped nearly 18 per cent to $US4.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005 from the prior year-ago quarter, and for the year grew 12 per cent to $US16 billion from the prior year, IDC said.

"We have seen kind of blase growth since the bottom fell out in 2001; it's nice to see that throughout 2005 we were accelerating," program manager, IDC Storage Systems, Brad Nisbet, said.

Sales of midrange systems, which IDC defines as priced between $US50,000 and $US149,999, were especially strong, Nisbet said.

"The sweet spot continues to be midrange products," he said. "A lot of the features and functionality once only in the high end has migrated its way down to lower segments of market. That combined with the fact that many midrange products offer multiple tiers of storage is driving the growth."

Multiple-tiered storage is helping users to address such challenges as data protection and business continuity, Nisbet said.

EMC held the lead in the external storage systems market in the fourth quarter, taking about 21 per cent of the market. Behind EMC was HP (18 per cent), and IBM (16), which both showed marked improvement from the prior year, Nisbet said.

"For some time, we had seen companies like EMC and Dell and NetApp that were the ones that stood out, while everyone else was lackluster and flatish year-over-year," Nisbet said. "It's nice to see HP and IBM in particular with good growth. IBM really turned themselves around and are executing well now, and the same can be said for HP."

The network disk storage market, which includes network-attached storage and Open and iSCSI storage area networks, grew 24 per cent to about $US3 billion in the fourth quarter from the prior year-ago quarter.

EMC led in that market, with about 27 per cent share, followed by HP (20 per cent), and IBM (14).

Turning to the NAS market, revenue grew 23 per cent in the quarter from the same year-ago period. EMC led that market as well with 40 per cent share, followed by NetApp (32 per cent).

The iSCSI SAN market soared 130 per cent from the prior year's quarter to $US94 million. NetApp led the market, with 26 per cent share, followed by EMC (21 per cent).

All told, the overall disk storage systems market grew about 11 per cent to $US23.7 billion in 2005. HP led the overall market with 23 per cent share, followed by IBM (20 per cent), and EMC (14).