Top Storage Companies in 2017

In order Micron, WD, Seagate, Dell, NetApp, Broadcom, HPE and IBM
By Jean Jacques Maleval on 2018.02.28

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 2017 and surpassing $2 billion in revenue.

2017 was not an easy period to build this ranking and to compare with the former year, for several reasons:

  • 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 that does not publish any number.
  • Hitachi Vantara/HDS stopped to publish its sales in storage systems since around two years.
  • Dell acquired EMC.

EMC announced storage revenue of $16,301 million and Dell 1,437 million in 2015. But Dell with EMC is at $8,942 million in 2017.

WD with SanDisk falls yearly from number one to number two, being surpassed by Micron with huge growth in 2017 (+64%) and for the first time historically being the biggest storage company in the word after being number two for three years.

Then Seagate, number three, is the last one surpassing $10 billion in sales last year but declining as the HDD market.

Following Dell is number four with enormous growth (303%) essentially coming from the acquisition of EMC not for better results of their respective storage businesses.

Number five is NetApp, far behind with $5.5 billion. Number six and seven are respectively Broadcom and HPE at more than $3 billion, Big Blue being these last years the most rapidly declining firm among the big storage companies bu  finally coming back in 2017 at more than $2 billion.

If we consider only the companies that published their storage revenue, their global sales decreased by 6% but increased by 26% in 2017. This excellent 2017 trend  does not come from storage subsystems. Dell jumped because of the acquisition of EMC, IBM is slightly reviving, HPE and NetApp stabilizing, even all of them benefit from new all-flash subsystems, but not compensating traditional products.

The global storage market is even probably growing at more than 26% as there are many start-ups booming and not including here. Remember that, for the first time historically, global revenue of the biggest storage companies decreased in 2015, by 3%. For our top ones it was up 5% from 2012 to 2013 and 9% from 2013 to 2014.

Concerning flash, Micron - also in DRAM -, up 64%, was largely pushed by SSDs. Some other big actors like Samsung and Toshiba Memory Corp. (to be sold) are doing also very well but are not ranked here as they don't publish financial results on their flash chips and SSDs. Also we have not included SK Hynix mainly in DRAM with 77% of its revenue in 4FQ17, and only 22% in NAND.

Broadcom also records excellent positive results (65%) thanks to acquisitions.

All top 8 companies below record more than $2 billion in storage revenue (Hitachi is probably also above this limit).

Top 8 in Storage Revenue in $ Million in Their Respective FY Ending in Calendar 2017
Rank 2017 Rank 2016 FY ending month Vendors 2016 2015/2016 growth 2017 2016/2017 growth
1 2 8 Micron 12,399 -23%  20,332 64%
2 1 6 WD 12,994 -11%  19,093 47%
3 3 6 Seagate 11,160 -19%  10,771 -3%
4 4 2 Dell 2,217 303%  8,942 303%
5 5 4 NetApp 5,546 -9%  5,519  -0%
6 8 10 Broadcom * 2,291 5%  3,785 65%
7 7 10 HPE * 3,235 2%  3,210  -1%
8 9 12 IBM ** 2,184 -9%  2,337  7%
    TOTAL   58,803 -6% 73,979 26%

 (Compilation by
* storage only
**storage products only
Comments on two Asian companies, Samsung and Toshiba, that could be in this Top 8:
  • Samsung, no more directly in HDDs, could merit to be included in this Top 8 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 2017. 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
2017 Micron WD Seagate


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