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IDC: HDS market share numbers not accurate

Last week, after meeting with Hitachi Data Systems at the BD Event in Boston, I posted about some of the things we discussed about HDS’s 2008 performance, which included some market share information they supplied, citing IDC as the source.

The problem is, IDC says HDS’s numbers don’t match its own.

This was the relevant graf in the original blog:

Schmidt said it was specifically EMC that HDS had taken market share from in 2008, citing an IDC study that showed HDS edging to just under 30% market share in high-end disk arrays in 2008 while EMC fell to just over 25%. Schmidt attributed the growth in sales in part to a sales reorganization in February 2008, when former Unisys vice president and general manager of sales and service Randy DeMont was promoted to executive vice president. (Schmidt left EMC, where he worked in the Centera product division, in September for HDS.)

IDC does not publish the data that would have supported this conclusion. It doesn’t break out market share according to “high end disk arrays” but rather by price bands. IDC research manager Natalya Yezhkova said that the Hitachi number given to me seems to be a combination of price bands 7 through 9 in IDC’s model, essentially systems over $300,000. HDS also included sales from OEM partners Hewlett-Packard and Sun as part of its own in the analysis, which is also not consistent with IDC’s methodology, she said.

In fact, calculating using IDC’s standard model, the market share numbers in price bands 7 through 9 look like this:

EMC 36.6%

HDS 17.7%

After the fact, here’s the statement HDS’s EJ Schmidt sent to me about it:

The share number provided is a combination of IDC proprietary data and an inclusion of Hitachi, Ltd./HDS high-end storage revenue contributions from its OEM partnership with HP and reseller relationship with Sun. IDC opts to track high-end storage marketshare by brand rather than by manufacturer, which leads to data that is non-representative of Hitachi’s public storage results. Hitachi’s public financial results include HDS’ sales to Sun and HP to reflect more accurate end-user pricing and end-user marketshare, and by virtue, a more accurate representation of share. This disclosure practice is similar to our peers in the storage market that benefit from indirect channels to market, as you are aware.

IDC doesn’t see it that way. According to Benjamin Woo, VP of storage systems research in an email to Storage Soup, “While we recognize that the title of the blog entry does read “HDS says …”, the sentence infers that this is factual and based on IDC research. In fact, IDC does not support this quote. More importantly, IDC does not have the data to verify the HDS claim.”

Moreover, IDC says HDS requested authorization to use these calculations in press briefings, and was denied. But this data was still presented to me without clarification during our meeting last week.

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