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IDC report shows steady storage sales in third quarter, some warning signs

IDC’s quarterly tracker numbers for the third quarter of 2008 show disk storage and storage software sales holding steady at a time when many industries are feeling the effects of recession.

According to an IDC press release, “worldwide external disk storage systems factory revenues posted 8.8% year-over-year growth totaling $4.9 billion…total disk storage systems market grew to $6.6 billion in revenues, up 1.1% from the prior year’s third quarter, driven by softness in server systems sales.”

Meanwhile, the storage software market grew year-over-year for the 20th consecutive quarter with revenues of $3.1 billion, up 11.6% over last year’s third quarter.

On the disk side, companies with server businesses showed declines. IBM disk revenue declined 18.1%, Dell dropped 8.7% and HP was down 0.5% in overall disk system revenue (including servers).  Fujitsu Siemens and NEC also declined. But for external (networked) storage, HP increased 3.3% and Dell was up 8.6a% over last year. Storage system-only vendors EMC (16.2%) and NetApp (13.8%)  gained significantly over last year, as did Sun (up 25%).

Year-over-year numbers looked similar on the software side, with outliers like HP increasing revenue 106.2% in storage management software from one year to the next. However, nearly all the storage software vendors stumbled from the previous quarter. HP took a 19.7% sequential hit in storage management. Storage infrastructure software slipped 7.8% from the previous quarter, with NetApp revenue declining 18.3% in that category.

According to IDC’s software press release, storage software revenues in the third quarter are traditionally slower before a typically strong fourth quarter. However, the overall economy has been going in the opposite direction. Many industries look at the third quarter as the calm before the storm, with dire predictions of declines coming for next year. And having covered these trackers before, I can say anecdotally I don’t recall seeing quite such sharp declines one column (the quarterly comparison) affecting almost all companies and almost all categories.

Other industry experts have told that the worst is yet to come. According to a report issued in October by Forrester Research, the third quarter for IT companies remained relatively stable because most vendors are still working through a sales pipeline. But poor sales are predicted for all IT vendors in the fourth quarter.

In the meantime, however, while budget growth may be constrained next year, storage managers have said they aren’t expecting their daily tasks to change drastically because of the recession.

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While I beleive that it is good to start a conversation about changes needed to make security policies better, this particular article seems extreemly naive and dangerous. It sounds like the typical technocrat system admin just saying "quit writing policies and just let me do whatever the heck I want...'trust me' ". What we all know however is that in a time crunch, security is the first thing they will forget to implemnt leaving large gaps in security that they 'forget' about.