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IBM storage revs spin into double-digit decline

IBM’s disk array business took another hit last quarter, with storage hardware decreasing 13% as the company looks to shift its emphasis to flash and software-defined storage.

“Storage value is shifting to software,” CFO Martin Schroeter said Monday on IBM’s earnings call. “We’re continuing to grow software-defined storage, which includes object storage and our newly introduced Spectrum suite offerings. Storage hardware revenue decreased 13 percent, which continues to reflect weakness in the traditional disk storage market.”

Schroeter said IBM would expand its flash products “across the entire portfolio,” pointing to its release of FlashSystem A9000, A9000R and all-flash DS8888 arrays in April.

IBM has a new storage chief. Ed Walsh this month took over as general manager of IBM Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure. He is expected to concentrate on FlashSystem all-flash arrays, Spectrum software and Cleversafe object storage for cloud and on-premise storage. IBM acquired Cleversafe for $1.3 billion in October 2015.

IBM storage revenue has declined in each of the last four years. It fell from $3.7 billion in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2015.

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