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Data storage hardware and software maker EMC maintains a narrow overall lead in the worldwide external disk storage systems market, but Hewlett-Packard has caught up and the two are almost tied for No. 1 in market share, according to second-quarter data released Sept. 1 by IDC.

EMC led the world’s top disk storage vendors with $830 million in revenue for the quarter and an even 20 percent of the market, and HP recorded 10.3 percent revenue growth year over year to earn $800 million in the quarter and claim second place—but a statistical tie for No. 1—with 19.3 percent.

IBM maintained the third position with 13.2 percent market share, while Hitachi, Dell, and Sun Microsystems ended the quarter in a statistical tie for fourth with 8.0, 7.8 and 7.1 percent revenue share, respectively. Among the top vendors, HP, Hitachi and Sun each had double-digit year-over-year growth.

HP maintained its leadership in worldwide total disk storage revenue for the 17th consecutive quarter, with 24 percent market share and 9.2 percent revenue growth year over year in the second quarter of 2006.

Click here to read more about HP’s storage software and services.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Tracker, worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues grew 8.5 percent in the second quarter to $4.2 billion for the 13th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth, the Framingham, Mass., market analysis firm reported.

The total disk storage systems market grew to $5.9 billion for the quarter, up 6.0 percent from the prior year’s quarter. For the first time, total disk storage systems capacity shipped 704 petabytes, growing 51.5 percent from the same quarter one year ago.

“Disk storage systems vendors have invested heavily to expand their product offerings—most of the major vendors now have systems to address a wide range of application, capacity and performance requirements,” said Brad Nisbet, program manager of IDC Storage Systems. “As such, the disk storage systems market as a whole is well poised to satisfy the expected data growth associated with an expanding set of customer needs.”

It has been a time of growth for most data storage vendors, but HP appears to be gaining the most among the market leaders.

In the open SAN (storage area network) market, including Fibre Channel and iSCSI, HP reclaimed the No. 1 position with 25 percent revenue share and continued to hold the No. 1 market position in total open SAN unit shipments with 19.7 percent share worldwide.

Read more here about where IBM, EMC and HP stand in the world storage services market.

Also during the quarter, HP continued as No. 1 in midrange worldwide external disk array revenue share, a position it has held for four consecutive quarters.

The total network disk storage market—NAS (network-attached storage) combined with open SAN—posted 11.4 percent year-over-year growth in the first quarter, reaching more than $2.8 billion. EMC continued to maintain its leadership in the total network storage market with 26.2 percent revenue share, followed by HP and IBM with 21.1 and 11.6 percent revenue share, respectively.

“The double-digit growth in the network disk storage systems market was driven by performance of the NAS and iSCSI SAN segments,” said Natalya Yezhkova, a research manager at IDC Storage Systems. “As end users become more confident [of] the reliability and applicability of NAS and iSCSI technologies, they are deploying bigger and more expensive systems, shifting suppliers’ revenue distribution toward higher price bands.”

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