June 11, 2012 – The disk storage market is bouncing back by billions in increased revenue only seven months after flooding threatened to set back shipments and distribution, according to two new market research reports.

Separate reviews of the disk storage market by Gartner and IDC show spending and growth in the first quarter of 2012 back above levels seen prior to the October and November 2011 floods in Thailand, an international hub for construction and development of external controller-based disk storage units. After those natural disasters, there was concern among storage experts and market analysts that supply would be hampered throughout 2012 and even into years to come.

"Entry level systems were hit hardest owing to their reliance on SATA and near-line SAS drives, which experienced price increases due to the Thailand floods,” said Liz Conner, IDC senior research analyst for storage systems, in a release. “However, strong overall growth in emerging regions and the slowdown in price per gigabyte erosion helped the market post year-over-year growth."

In its market review, IDC notched external disk storage revenues at $6 billion for the first quarter of 2012, a year-over-year growth of 7.1 percent. IDC put the overall disk storage systems market at approximately $8 billion in revenues and 6.8 percent growth compared with the first quarter of 2011. The total disk storage systems capacity shipped hit 6,037 petabytes, a 20.8 percent year-over-year increase, IDC stated.

In a separate market review, Gartner was slightly less rosy, pegging disk storage vendor revenue at $5.4 billion for the first quarter of 2012, up 8 percent from that same quarter in 2011. It also marks the tenth consecutive quarter of revenue growth in the storage space, according to Gartner. In a release on its quarterly findings, Gartner wrote that there may have been some issues with matching demand with supply due to the flooding, though vendors appear to have put those problems “largely behind them.”

IDC put the open SAN market at 13 percent year-over-year growth, though noted that the NAS declined by nearly 2 percent in Q1 2012 compared with that same quarter last year. NAS and high-end storage systems underwent substantial growth in 2010 and 2011 due to “loosened storage budgets” after the recession in 2009, and that less drastic growth in this area is expected as the long-term trend, the research firm reported.

As far as vendors, Gartner identified EMC as the top provider, with $1.7 billion in first quarter revenue, a 16 percent increase from Q1 2011, and nearly one-third of the market share. Following EMC, Gartner put NetApp in second, IBM in third, Hitachi in fourth and HP in fifth in terms of revenue and market share.

IDC also ranked EMC as the top provider with biggest year-over-year quarterly revenue growth, followed by NetApp, IBM, HP and Hitachi.

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