IDC: Storage market grew 12 percent in Q4

Hewlett-Packard and IBM lead the marketplace in overall storage sales in a marketplace that grew 12 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, despite an overall slump for the year, IDC reported today. In 2002, storage sales, which totaled US$5.4 billion, dropped 15 percent over 2001. That still beat IDC's prediction that sales would drop by 21 percent for the year.

HP and IBM each garnered 25 percent of sales in the quarter, with $1.37 billion and $1.34 billion, respectively. EMC Corp. was third with 11 percent, or $505 million in sales; Sun Microsystems Inc. had 6 percent, or $225 million in sales; and Dell Computer Corp. and Hitachi Data Systems Corp. each grabbed 5 percent of the storage market, with $278 million and $277 million respectively, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC said.

The fourth-quarter jump in sales was mainly due to companies loosening the purse strings at year's end, according to IDC analyst Robert Gray.

"Most [chief financial officers] have been constraining their IT executives to stay below budget. These numbers seem to show that some of that constraint was lifted to deal with ongoing storage needs," Gray said.

IDC, however, doesn't expect the upswing to continue. Its forecast for this year is for a slight decline over 2002 sales.

HP maintained its No. 1 position in external storage sales, with 21 percent of the revenue in that market. IBM and EMC were second, with 17 percent revenue share each. In the external RAID market, HP and EMC tied for the No. 1 position, with 19 percent of the revenue share each.

While EMC touted the external RAID numbers as evidence that it has the clear lead in actual storage sales, IDC network storage analyst Eric Sheppard said users are clearly looking for vendors that can provide them with end-to-end sales and support, and "servers are clearly more important than ever before."

"Being able to provide both servers and storage as a solution is important," Sheppard said. "The total market is the most important market."

HP's success in the "total" storage market was directly related to its increased sales of networked arrays, which Gray attributed to the company's acquisition of Compaq in 2002. "One of crown jewels [HP] got in the Compaq acquisition was its StorageWorks division, the executives who ran it and their ability to execute," he said.

Still, EMC spokesman Greg Eden pointed to his company's success in networked storage, which represented 30 percent of the marketplace. "Networked storage is what customers are deploying more and more of these days," he said. "We're the only vendor in Q4 that has double-digit share in both [network-attached storage] and storage-area network market."