Number two storage systems maker, HP, has closed the gap between it and number one, EMC, to what research company IDC calls a statistical tie.
But EMC argues its lead over HP is greater if co-branded Dell-EMC storage devices are counted as EMC sales instead of as Dell sales.
According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Tracker, EMC held an industry-leading 20 per cent market share for external disk storage systems in the second quarter of 2006, followed by HP with a 19.3 per cent share. EMC had a 21 per cent share to HP's 18.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2005. In the latest results, IBM earned third place with a 13.2 per cent share, while Hitachi Data Systems, Dell and Sun Microsystems recorded market share of between 7 per cent and 8 per cent, which IDC labeled a three-way tie.
IDC considers companies to be tied for market share if the difference between them is less than 1 percentage point, program manager for IDC Storage Systems, Brad Nisbet, said.
The second quarter figures show a tight race between EMC and HP, but EMC spokesperson, Greg Eden, said EMC was further ahead than those numbers suggested. The market share numbers didn't count storage devices that EMC manufactured for Dell. They were co-branded as Dell/EMC storage but counted as Dell sales revenue.
If Dell/EMC sales were counted as EMC revenue, the company's second quarter market share would be 26.1 per cent, Eden said. IDC confirmed that number.
However, EMC stumbled in the second quarter when inventory problems prevented it from fulfilling orders for some of its Symmetrix DMX3 high-end and Clarion CX3 midrange storage models.
"We had double-digit growth in our bookings for our storage," Eden said.
Customers,however, wanted the newer models and were not content to buy the older ones.
Manufacturers with the strongest second-quarter percentage growth from a year earlier were Sun (19.1 per cent), Hitachi (17) and HP (10.3).
"HP has been executing well under new management," Nisbet said, referring to president and CEO, Mark Hurd, who replaced Carly Fiorina in March 2005. HP's storage revenue grew by 22 per cent in Western Europe in the quarter, he said.
Sun reported the strongest quarterly jump due in part to its acquisition of storage vendor StorageTek in 2005 and the development of the first StorageTek disk storage products, Nisbet said, while Hitachi recorded strong sales of its high-end storage products.
IDC said the second quarter, which ended June 30, was the 13th consecutive quarter of revenue growth for the external disk storage sector. Revenue rose 8.5 per cent to $US4.2 billion, from $US3.8 billion a year earlier.
Storage demand was growing as enterprises generate more data they have to manage and archive, he said.
"Storage continues to be an integral component of a full [IT] solution," Nisbet said.