Tape, Disk Heading In Different Directions

New reports on storage released this week indicate that, while enterprise disk storage is on the rise, tape continues a gentle, long-term decline into obsolescence.

Worldwide, external controller-based storage rose 6.7 percent to $5.5 billion, the eleventh consecutive quarter of growth.  But the analyst firm Gartner said it also expected growth of 7.9 percent for the year. Although the rest of the world fared according to expectations, the struggling EMEA economy proved to be the anchor that held the overall market back.

Back-up tape cartridge sales, meanwhile, totaled just $169.1 million in revenue for the second quarter, down 10.1 percent sequentially and off 8.84 percent from a year ago, according to the Santa Clara Consulting Group. The bulk of the market continues to be represented by the LTO format, which generated 91.0 percent of total revenues, or $153.94 million.

LTO-5 was the only LTO format that fared somewhat well; LTO-5 shipments remained flat at 27 percent of the 5.6 million LTO units sold. LTO-4 shipments declined 6 percent, and represented the bulk of the market, at 45 percent of the units sold. LTO-3 unit sales dipped 20 percent. The proprietary DDS/DAT, DLT-S, DLT-V, and the AIT formats continue to barely breathe: DDS/DAT generated just 0.5 million units, down 14 percent, with the other formats even less.

All told, SCCG predicted that tape market revenues would fall another 8.97 percent during the third quarter. So far, Amazon hasn’t said what it’s using for its tape-based backup solution, Glacier—will that have an effect on the market, we wonder?

Gartner, fortunately, is presenting a rosier picture of the enterprise storage market, which the firm claimed had overcome the supply issues presented by the 2011 floods in Taiwan. Those floods submerged or otherwise damaged key component and assembly facilities used by top disk-drive makers such as Seagate.

“Although the hard-disk drive (HDD) supply issues created by the October 2011 Thailand flood was no longer an impediment on meeting user demand, the economy in certain regions had a debilitating impact on vendor revenue in the second quarter of 2012,” Roger Cox, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in a statement.

“In particular, the dour EMEA economy dampened year-over-year vendor revenue growth to just 2.6 percent against a forecast of 7.4 percent,” he added, “while the slowing Asia/Pacific economy held year-over-year vendor revenue growth to 9 percent, 7.1 percentage points lower than Gartner’s forecast. Only the North American region and Japan met or exceeded our expectations in the second quarter of 2012.”

Three vendors—EMC, Fujitsu and Oracle—produced year-over-year revenue gains higher than the industry average, Gartner estimated. EMC continues to dominate the market with 33.3 percent market share, growing its revenue by 12.6 percent to $1.82 billion from a year ago. IBM ranks second with 13.8 percent; its own market share dipped from 15.1 percent following a 2.4 percent revenue decline. NetApp was third, with a 11.1 percent market share. HP and Hitachi/HDS rounded out the top five.

 

Image: Eimantas Buzas/Shutterstock.com

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