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IBM wrestles controls, pulls midrange array sales out of death dive

EMC strato-jet looks down as other flap wings, gasp

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IBM's move away from legacy DS3000/5000 storage arrays to newer XIV and StorWize midrange arrays is paying off with growing sales.

A graph of vendors' external disk array revenues, drawn up by Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers, shows an IBM upturn in the last quarter. IBM and EMC are the only two enjoying a rise, everyone else is sinking. Yes, it's only a three-month period, and IBM has had quarterly spikes before, so we can't draw any conclusions from this chart except that EMC is in the stratosphere, and NetApp is clear of the pack but not in EMC's league at all.

External disk vendor share 500

Total external disk storage revenue graph: click to enlarge

The chart for vendor storage revenue share by operating system shows a different pattern:

Vendor external disk share by OS

Open networked storage revenue share by operating system: click to enlarge

NetApp's Data ONTAP is up there as one of the top three storage array operating systems, along with EMC's VMAX/Symmetrix OS and its VNX/Celerra/CLARiiON Dart/Flare environments.

Once again there is a trailing pack of vendors that have been converging for several quarters. HP's EVA and 3PAR OS revenue lines are crossing. Dell EqualLogic growth is levelling off while Dell Compellent is still growing. EMC's Data Domain has a larger revenue share than any Dell or HP product in the chart.

The surprise is that IBM's XIV/Storwize line has been growing fairly steadily since 2008 and is up with Data Domain - and level pegging, almost, with the DS8000. Rakers had a look at the different IBM storage array operating systems next:

IBM storage OS revenue breakdown

IBM's external disk storage revenue breakdown: click to enlarge

Top o' the walk is the DS8000. The combined DS3000, 4000 and 5000 line has steadily fallen away, with the StorWize and XIV combination rising up and overtaking it to arrive in the DS8000 area.

The DS6000 is down in the dumps with the OEM'd N-Series filers from NetApp and other minor storage products from Big Blue. IBM perhaps needs to revitalise its low-end storage arrays next, coming out with a strong iSCSI offering perhaps.

Looking at the Data Domain OS revenue share leaves one wondering when exactly is NetApp going to return to the deduplicating backup-to disk market? The simplest way is to buy Exagrid. A harder way would be to license Permabit's Albireo and use the E-Series as the storage hardware. ®

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