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Flash market booming in contrast to traditional HDDs

An analysis of the external storage market on Q1 from IDC has revealed strong demand for flash

The all-flash market is outpacing the general external storage market as customers embrace the technology helping double sales compared to last year.

An IDC analysis of what happened in Q1 would have made great reading for storage vendors that have backed flash with sales growing by 100% year-on-year in EMEA.

That contrasted with a 34.5% drop in the traditional hard disk drive market as a number of factors took their toll on the demand for that tech.

"Brexit uncertainty, unfavorable exchange rates, major vendors' internal reorganizations, and increased component costs for SSD have weighed down on EMEA performance once again, making 1Q17 the ninth quarter of uninterrupted decline for the region," said Silvia Cosso, research manager, European Storage and Datacenter Research, IDC.

"However, as enterprises progress in their digital transformation paths, sales of all-flash array systems, standalone or converged, see no crisis in sight, doubling their sales compared to the same period a year ago and reaching a quarter of total sales," he added.

That growth of flash could not happen unless it had become a genuine option for the SME community and a technology that is now a strong channel play.

"The accelerated growth in all-flash arrays this quarter shows that flash storage has entered not just large enterprise datacenters but even medium-sized and small businesses in Western Europe. With flash storage solutions evolving to support mixed workload consolidation and offer rich data services, many more businesses are exploring the use of flash for their primary storage needs," said Archana Venkatraman, research manager, IDC Europe.

In terms of vendors Dell remains the market leader in the external disk storage systems market in EMEA but it suffered a 21% drop in growth in Q1. It's closest rival NetApp had a better start to the year with a 9.2% climb and IBM was also enjoying demand with a 16.2% growth year-on-year.

IDC is not a lone voice on the growth of flash and recent research by Persistence Market Research (PMR) suggested the SME segment of the flash-based array market is projected to increase at a CAGR of 22.3% from 2016-2024.

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