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Top Storage Companies in 2016

1/ Dell EMC, 2/ WD, 3/ Micron, etc.

Our ranking is based on official figures of companies publishing their number on storage only for their fiscal year ended one of the month of calendar year 2016 and surpassing $2 billion in revenue. All of them are public companies but Dell, now globally the fourth biggest private company in USA.

2016 was the most difficult period to build this ranking and the comparison with the former year, for several reasons involving companies in our Top 12 in 2015:

  • EMC was acquired by Dell and the new group consequently saw high growth in revenue.
  • Western Digital (WD) bought SanDisk (number six last year) now no more listed in 2016.
  • Broadcom acquired successively Avago, Emulex and Brocade.
  • Symantec  (number 9 in 2015) is no more in storage, an activity transferred to the new Veritas Technologies under the umbrella of The Carlyle Group.
  • Hitachi/HDS stopped to publish its sales in storage systems.

We thought that Dell (number 12 in 2015), with EMC (number one each year since 2004), will be by far the market leader in the worldwide storage industry. EMC announced storage revenue of $16,301 million and Dell 1,437 million in 2015. But Dell with EMC is only at $8,942 million in 2016.

WD with SanDisk is consequently now one one, taking the place of Micron becoming number two with revenue decreasing by 23% from 2015 to 2016. Then Seagate, number three, is the last one surpassing $10 billion in sales last year.

Following Dell number four, number five is NetApp, far behind with $5.5 billion.

We suppose that Hitachi (HDS + Japan) is at around $4 billion and then to be classified number six, in front of HPE, number seven, in the $3 billion range. Number eight and nine are respectively Broadcom and IBM at around $2 billion, Big Blue being these last years the most rapidly declining firm among the big storage companies.

If we consider only the companies that published their storage revenue in 2015 and 2016, their global sales are decreasing by 6%. All the top nine but Broadcom and Dell saw their sales declining. The reasons are much lower sales of legacy products by large storage system firms and a diminishing HDD market, not compensated by products or devices based on flash chips for all of them. The worldwide storage market was down in 2016 but probably at less than 6% as there are many start-ups booming.

Remember that, for the first time historically, global revenue of the biggest storage companies decreased in 2015, by 3%. For our annual top ones it was up 5% from 2012 to 2013 and 9% from 2013 to 2014.

Concerning flash, Micron is down 23% in 2016. It does not mean that the flash market is in bade shape. That’s the contrary and some other big actors like Samsung and Toshiba are doing much better but are not ranked here as they don’t publish financial results on their flash chips and SSDs.

Broadcom records positive results (5%) thanks to acquisitions.

All top 9 companies below record more than $2 billion in storage revenue.

Top 9 in Storage Revenue in $ Million in Their Respective FY Ending in Calendar 2016
Rank 2016 Rank 2015 FY ending month Vendors 2015 2014/2015 growth 2016 2015/2016 growth
1 3 6 WD 14,572 -4% 12,994 -11%
2 2 8 Micron 16,192 -1% 12,399 -23%
3 4 6 Seagate 13,730 0% 11,160 -19%
4 12 1 Dell 2,217 751% 8,942 303%
5 5 4 NetApp 6,123 -5% 5,546 -9%
6 7 3 HDS + Japan 4,079 -4% NA NA
7 8 10 HPE * 3,185 -4% 3,235 2%
8 11 10 Broadcom * 2,180 NA 2,291 5%
9 10 12 IBM ** 2,400 -10% 2,184 -9%
(Compilation by StorageNewsletter.com)

* storage only
**storage products only
Comments on two Asian companies, Samsung and Toshiba, that could be in this Top 9:
  • Samsung, no more directly in HDDs, could merit to be included in the Top 9 but the company does not precisely publish revenue in NAND flash chips and SSDs.
  • It’s also the case Toshiba involved in HDDs, SSDs and flash chips.
  • Here storage is defined as the activity of recording and retrieving computer data using any form of digital devices (based on magnetic, tape, optical, non volatile solid-state , and subsystems) including all associated connectivity, software and services.
  • For this ranking we used the companies’ financial results for their fiscal year 2016 – not the calendar year – ending in any month of 2016 (in January 2017 for Dell). We got official published figures when available – not estimations – for all of them and for storage only.

Historically, here are the winners’ circle
since 1991:

   ≠1 ≠2 ≠3
 1991  IBM Adstar
 Seagate  Memorex Telex
 1992  IBM Adstar  Seagate  Conner
 1993  IBM SSD  Seagate  Conner
 1994  IBM SSD  Seagate  Quantum
 1995  Seagate  IBM SSD  Quantum
 1996  Seagate  Quantum  WD
 1997  Seagate  Quantum  Compaq
 1998  Seagate  Quantum  Compaq
 1999  Seagate  EMC  Quantum
 2000  EMC  Seagate  Maxtor
 2001  EMC  Seagate  Maxtor
 2002  Seagate  EMC  Maxtor
 2003  Seagate  EMC  Hitachi GST
 2004  EMC  Seagate  BenQ
 2005  EMC  Seagate  Hitachi GST
 2006  EMC  Seagate  Hitachi GST
 2007  EMC  Seagate  Hitachi GST
 2008  EMC  Seagate  WD
 2009  EMC  Seagate  WD
 2010  EMC  Seagate  WD
 2011  EMC  Seagate  WD
 2012  EMC  Seagate  WD
2013  EMC  WD  Seagate
2014  EMC  Micron  WD
2015  EMC  Micron  WD
2016  WD  Micron  Seagate

(Source: StorageNewsletter.com)