Sales of high-end storage systems fell by one-quarter in the first three months of 2014, according to analyst group IDC, as the overall storage market fell by 6.9 per cent by value.
"Other important contributors to the market decline include the mainstream adoption of storage optimisation technologies," said Eric Sheppard, research director, IDC Storage, "a general trend towards keeping systems longer, economic uncertainty, and the ability of customers to address capacity needs on a micro and short-term basis through public cloud offerings."
IBM, which is having a torrid time in hardware at the moment, saw the biggest overall fall in external disk-storage system sales, with sales falling by 22.5 per cent and the company slipping from third to fourth in the rankings, just behind HP.
In terms of total disk storage systems, which IDC defines as network-attached storage combined with non-mainframe storage area networking hardware, IBM weighed in fifth with sales of $743m, down 20.5 per cent from the $934m it achieved in the first quarter of 2013.
Sales at market leader EMC, meanwhile, held up better, with the company achieving storage system revenues of $1.64bn in the first quarter, a 22.4 per cent share of the market ahead of second-placed HP with $1.11bn and a share of 15.1 per cent.
Dell also had a torrid first quarter, with its storage system sales falling by 13.7 per cent to $871m, just ahead of NetApp where sales fell only marginally - 2.8 per cent - to $854m to tuck in just behind Dell, but just ahead of IBM.