Storage suppliers feel the heat

Round up of the top 10 SearchStorage news stories getting the most attention this month. EMC, Brocade and Iron Mountain are all taking some heat from their customers.

It's been a sizzling month for storage news. Here's a look at the top 10 stories, in order of page views, getting the most eyeballs among our readers in March.

Users quit EMC over replication
Two former users of EMC Corp.'s storage said they replaced gear from EMC with products from other vendors last year because competitors offered simpler product packages for replication, while EMC spent the year caught in a flurry of acquisitions that made its portfolio more confusing.

Cisco stamps on Brocade in Q4, Dell'Oro says
According to the latest report from Dell'Oro, Cisco is gaining share on Brocade for the second quarter in a row. The report states Cisco earned $128 million in worldwide revenue for storage area network (SAN) switches, which includes directors and fabric switches, in the fourth calendar quarter of 2006, picking up six percentage points in director market share and four percentage points in the overall SAN switch market from the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, McData Corp. went from $96.9 million to $90 million losing six points of share from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. If Dell'Oro is correct, this means that Brocade, which acquired McData in the summer of 2006, lost those six points of share to Cisco instead of picking them up for itself.

HP storage revenues sink, reports IDC
The storage software and disk storage markets are plugging along at a healthy pace, according to the latest World Software Tracker and World Disk Tracker reports from analyst firm IDC. The same cannot be said for some of the vendors, particularly Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), which showed declining numbers in several categories within the IDC results.

HP grew 15.7 % quarter over quarter, but showed a 13.5 % year-over-year decline in revenues. Symantec Corp. and CA Inc. also posted more modest year-over-year declines in overall storage software of 5.3 % and 1.1 %, respectively.

According to the report, in the fourth quarter of 2006 the worldwide storage software market increased to $2.567 billion, up 5.3% quarter over quarter and 3.1% year over year. Revenues were up annually 8.3% to $9.772 billion.

Hitachi unveils 1 TB drive for retail
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced the first terabyte (TB) SATA hard drive, aimed initially for the retail market. The Deskstar 7K1000 began shipping to retail customers in the first quarter of 2007 for $399, or 40 cents per gigabyte. An enterprise version of the drive is expected in the second quarter of the year.

Iron Mountain's transport methods disturb some users
A handful of Iron Mountain Inc.'s users have stirred up some attention on the company's delivery practices for backup tapes, namely that it uses United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx, which came as a surprise to them.

College slashes storage costs with Google Gmail
As Google branches out from search engines to enterprise applications, early adopter Arizona State University (ASU) said it's saving hundreds of thousands on email storage costs using Google's Gmail.

Currently, according to Ron Page, director of technology integration in the university technical office for ASU, some 40,000 of the school's 65,000 students have switched to their new Google accounts, which offer 2 GB of storage per inbox. Previously, inbox quotas had been 50 MB per student. Page has been able to reassign a Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) filer saving the university $350,000 per year in storage, maintenance and personnel costs.

Sun scraps 6920 array, offloads support to HDS
Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) confirmed that the longstanding OEM contract between the two companies has been updated, and that as part of the new agreement, HDS will be taking over support for the ailing 6920 midrange virtualization product. Sun picked up the 6920 through the acquisition of Pirus Networks Inc. in 2002 for $160 million.

Users rethink Amazon S3 after performance issues
Since its inception last April, has been billing its Simple Storage Service (S3) as a tool for online companies and Web developers to store and serve content, but some Web 2.0 companies said the service has room for improvement when it comes to retrieving stored items fast enough for e-business and maintaining reliability.

One of S3's most highly touted customers, photo-sharing service, is still using the service but has seen performance and reliability issues serious enough to prompt the company to rethink how it used S3, according to its CEO Don MacAskill.

IBM inches past HP in external disk market share
According to a report released by analyst firm Gartner Inc., IBM crept past HP in worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage with a market share of 15.8% in 2006, compared to 13.1% for HP. Both IBM and HP remain behind market leader EMC in the overall standings. EMC increased its share from 23% to 25% for the year, according to the report.

Brocade answers users' roadmap questions
Six months into its $713 million acquisition of McData, Brocade is on the road banging the integration drum and explaining its roadmap to users. By and large, its effort seems to be paying off.

In a packed room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan this month, Brocade and McData users had two hours to fire questions at Chip Cooper, a Brocade SAN engineer and doctorate in distributed computing. One of the most surprising questions was whether the power plugs will stay on the back or the front of Brocade's switches.

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