Cloud giants, enterprise refreshes keep storage market poppin': Global sales up 20% in Q3

IBM and Hitachi fail to surf crest of spending wave as rivals seize the day

IDC's Q3 storage tracker numbers show a tier of the tech industry growing by almost a fifth versus the same period a year ago, though not all of the big players are keeping pace. Looking at you IBM and Hitachi.

Sebastian Lagana, IDC's research manager, Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies, said: "The third quarter results show a continuation of growth realised through the first half of 2018, driven by an ongoing infrastructure refresh cycle, investments in resource intensive next-generation workloads, and expanded use in public cloud services."

The report revealed a $14.046bn total enterprise storage market in the quarter, up 19.4 per cent year-on-year to be precise.

Unsurprisingly, Dell EMC maintained top spot with $2.695bn in sales, up 21.8 per cent year-on-year. HPE came in second with $2.3bn, a decline of 3.3 per cent, and NetApp grabbed third with sales of $808m, up 15.3 per cent.

Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Lenovo and Inspur all tied in fourth place – IDC's words, not ours – with Hitachi's $428m representing a fall of 10.1 per cent and Huawei's $422m a rise of 12.9 per cent.

IBM revenues were $402.7m, a decline of 21 per cent. Ouch. In its calendar Q3 numbers – which mirror the timelines of IDC's report – IBM CFO Jim Kavanaugh confirmed "storage hardware was down".

"Storage is an increasingly competitive environment with continued pricing pressures. So, to differentiate in this environment requires additional investment in innovation.

"We've been releasing new functionality like Safeguarded Copy for cybersecurity to protect critical client data from cyber attack. And we signed our first large deployment of this technology with a major bank this quarter."

Kavanaugh also pointed to the planned rollout of NVME across the storage portfolio.

Lenovo pulled in $370m, up a whopping 94.3 per cent, while Inspur's $313.3m was a rise of 65.3 per cent.

ODM Direct sales to hyperscalers dominated this report, though, with collective revenues of $3.887bn, up 45.8 per cent and accounting for more more than a quarter of global spending (27.7 per cent). The also-rans – the "Others" category – climbed 16.8 per cent to $2.42bn.

IDC separated external enterprise storage stats: the sector accounted for $6.32bn in revenues during the quarter, up 12.5 per cent on the year-ago period. Again, Dell was top supplier with $1.987bn, growing 22.9 per cent.

NetApp clung to second place with the aforementioned $808.2m (it's an external storage specialist) and HPE also maintained third spot with sales of $654.3m, up 2.6 per cent.

Hitachi was tied with IBM in fourth position with $403.2m in sales, a fall of 13.6 per cent. Big Blue generated $391.1m, down 19.7 per cent. The Others category accounted for $2.2bn and grew 21.5 per cent.

IDC revealed the total All Flash Array (AFA) space generated just over $2.15bn in revenue during the quarter, up 39.3 per cent. The Hybrid Flash Array (HFA) market was worth a little more than $2.6bn in revenue, up 16.0 per cent. ®

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