EMC disputes Compaq 'lead' in storage marketplace

EMC Corp., which has long proclaimed itself the data storage market leader, was miffed Wednesday over statements by Compaq Computer Corp. that two research firms say it now dominates the storage marketplace.

According to a statement released yesterday, Compaq said market data recently released by International Data Corp. (IDC) in Framingham, Massachusetts, and Dataquest Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, confirms that it has taken the lead in the storage market in eight of 12 categories, including storage-area networks (SAN).

Gartner Dataquest reported that Compaq shipped 24,000 SAN units last year, or 48.5 percent of the market.

Compaq said the independent research reports "offer ample evidence that a shift in customer attitudes is affecting the competitive landscape."

According to Gartner Dataquest's Research Brief on 2000 Fibre Channel SAN components, Compaq also made 26 percent of the switching ports deployed last year, or about 633,000.

"Our storage business is based on the awareness that companies are turning their backs on legacy architectures that require huge initial investments and are limited in scalability," David Sedgewick, storage business manager for Compaq U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement.

Said Sedgewick, "This tells the whole story on leadership in today's storage sector."

But Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based EMC said Compaq's boast leaves a gaping hole in the story.

"I don't see leadership linked to Compaq in any category. In fact, year 2000 in terms of market share is going to be a painful year for Compaq," said EMC spokesman Greg Eden.

Eden said Compaq's claims rely on units sold, such as disk storage contained in Windows NT/2000 servers. But external storage contained in RAID boxes "is the only kind that counts."

EMC's revenue last year in the overall external storage market totaled US$5.3 billion vs. $1.8 billion for Compaq, according to Gartner Dataquest's study. EMC held 32.7 percent of the market in external storage, compared to Compaq's 11.3 percent.

"It's not how many times you swing the bat; it's how many times you hit the ball," said Eden. "The scoreboard shows we're doing about three times better than than they are."

Compaq representatives didn't return phone calls by deadline.