Is it the end of Big Data? Quarta Horribilis for high-end storage
People will be talking about the terrible 2014 Q1 for years
IDC has just revealed one of the worst storage quarters for a couple of years as buyers went on a high-end storage strike.
There's been a quite spectacular slump in the storage business in the first 2014 quarter, according to the beancounters' Storage Tracker. Notwithstanding the digital-universe-drowning-us-in-Big-Data narrative, the actual storage market shrank this quarter.
Here's the bare bones IDC statement:
"The total (internal plus external) disk storage systems market generated $7.3 billion in revenue, representing a decrease of -6.9 per cent from the prior year's first quarter and a sequential decline of -17 per cent compared to the seasonally stronger 4Q13."
IDC Storage Research Director Eric Sheppard said:
"The poor results of the first quarter were driven by several factors, the most important of which was a -25 per cent decline in high-end storage spending."
Ouch, major ouch.
He also fingered "the mainstream adoption of storage optimization technologies, a general trend towards keeping systems longer, economic uncertainty, and the ability of customers to address capacity needs on a micro and short-term basis through public cloud offerings."
Here’s IDC's Storage Tracker data table for externally-attached storage:
EMC lead with a 29.1 per cent revenue market share but its revenue growth was -8.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), worse than the market as a whole (-5.2 per cent) because high-end array sales were so poor.
IBM did spectacularly badly, with a -22.5 per cent fall in quarterly revenues y-o-y. As NetApp and HP declined less than the market they arguably gained share. Dell, with a -8.8 per cent revenue fall y-o-y lost share.
Although NetApp, in the number 2 position for revenue market share, saw a market share rise year-on-year IDC shows it as having experienced -2.8 per cent revenue growth over the same period because its actual revenues fell.
We charted recent IDC Storage Tracker revenue market share numbers to see how things have been changing:
The graph shows the dramatic recent fall by EMC and the dramatic rise by NetApp.
Next the Storage Tracker looks at total storage, the sum of externally-attached (networked)and server-attached storage. Here's IDC’s data table for total storage:
What can we see from this?
The market as a whole declined -6.9 per cent y-o-y in revenue terms, with NetApp only declining -2.8 per cent, meaning it gained share. Every other supplier identified in the table lost share:
- IBM -20.5 per cent
- Dell -19.0 per cent
- EMC - 8.8 per cent
- HP - 8.0 per cent
How very pleasing for NetApp.
Of course we charted IDC's recent quarterly numbers for total storage revenue market shares - not absolute revenues - to see the trends again:
IDC Storage Tracker: Total Storage Q1 cy2014
NetApp, Dell and others up; EMC, IBM and HP down.
Is this just a quarterly blip or will the move to the cloud gather pace and the "Others" category, including hotshot upstarts like Fusion-io, Nimble, Pure, Tegile, Tintri and Violin, capture more disk array business with their flashy products?
Put another way; are we seeing the cloud and flash put a temporary or permanent kink in the disk array business?
Or is Big Data just not big enough? ®