Crash, bang, wallop: External storage systems still sliding in Europe as customers' budgets stay frozen

Western Europe led a decline in the value of EMEA external storage systems sales in Q3 with a recovery in the remainder of the year obviously hinging on whether a second wave of infections leads to further lockdowns.

The market value shrank 8.5 per cent to $1.701bn, according to IDC stats, but whereas Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMA) grew 2.7 per cent to 488m, Western Europe slumped 12.4 per cent to $1.213bn.

“The EMEA market is still suffering from the general decline in business brought about by COVID-19, but it scored marginally better than the previous quarter,” said IDC associate research director Silvia Cosso.

Hybrid flash array systems across EMEA fell 20 per cent to $636.17m, and HDD-only arrays were down 15 per cent to $323.19m. The hot spot was All-Flash Arrays where, sales expanded 9 per cent to $741.6m. Purpose-Built Backup Appliances were also up after dropping for five straight quarters.

IDC said most of the “major countries” in Western Europe reported shrinkage, albeit at a slower rate sequentially. “However, the risk of a second wave of contagions bringing about new lockdowns of various extent, and the end of support schemes from governments, could further jeopardise recovery in the remaining part of the year,” said Cosso.

In CEMA, efforts to counter the virus and the economic downturn resulted in a range of performances by country that depended on the action governments took to stimulate the economy as well as their reliance on international trade.

A “moderate decline” is forecast for the remainder of the year in CEMA with “investments in cost optimisation solutions and remote consumption models” expected to continue, said IDC.

Supply chain disruption and customers freezing budgets saw almost all of the major vendors reporting smaller turnover.

IDC said Dell was down 10.5 per cent to $504.86m; Hewlett Packard Enterprise dropped 20.4 per cent to $255.23m; NetApp was down 17.7 per cent to $223.95m; and Hitachi was down 10.3 per cent to $97.42m. Only IBM and “Others” grew, up 4.8 and 4.3 per cent respectively to $145.87m and $474.1m.

In its Q2 results for the quarter ended 31 July, Dell EMC said its total storage revenues were down 4 per cent year-on-year but up 5 per cent sequentially. CFO Tom Sweet said VXRail and PowerMax were the bright spots.

“We saw softness in other areas of core storage, including mid-range,” he told analysts on a conference call. COO Jeff Clarke added that it “continued to see customers slow down their investments, in some cases, sweat their current infrastructure.”

Cosso said of IBM’s gains – for the 4th quarter in a row – that it had unified Storwize and FlashSystem under a one brand using a single platform based on IBM Spectrum Virtualize. “This has resonated well in their installed base”, she told us.

Big Blue’s mainframe systems grew last quarter, she added, “also driven by some DS8xxx refreshments and growth in IBM Z mainframe which pushed storage sales as well.” ®

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