External storage sales fall behind in bull market

IDC’s Q3 2018 worldwide storage tracker shows the overall storage market is booming except for external, shared array / filer technology.

The total storage numbers reported are summarised in The Register. We tabulate IDC’s numbers, since 2017’s third quarter, below and chart them to provide a snapshot of the market and individual performance.

First, the total storage market.

IDC publishes revenue figures for the top five-to-seven suppliers only each quarter – hence the gaps in chart for some of the vendors

Dell and HPE dominate named vendors but in turn are dominated by the Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs). NetApp shows signs of leaving the pack of other suppliers behind.

The total storage number chart shows good revenue growth.

Next we look at external storage on its own:

Charting the suppliers produces this graph:

Dell is top dog by some margin as you can see from the revenue lines of its biggest competitors: NetApp, HPE, Hitachi and IBM.

How is the external storage market changing quarter by quarter? Let’s add its line to the total storage trends chart for side-by-side comparison.

The external market is growing and loosely parallels the total storage curve. But growth is anaemic compared to the more strongly growing overall storage market.

This chart shows that, after two quarters of decline in the first half of 2018, the external market has shown some quarter-on-quarter growth in the third quarter. The 2018 external storage quarterly revenue numbers are higher than their equivalent 2017 quarters though; so the 2018 quarters do show year-on-year growth.

Next we look at the trend of quarterly external storage revenue as a percentage of all storage.

This decline probably shows the influence of hyperconverged infrastructure systems and other server SANs. This also helps serve to explain the relatively slow growth of the external storage market as a whole.

We can also acknowledge that some data that would have been stored in external arrays has gone to the public cloud. This is a second reason for the percentage decline.

To sum this all up, the overall storage market has a healthy rate of growth while the external storage market is looking, well, dampened.