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IBM sees SMB demand powering storage success

Preethi J

Bangalore , March 26

Big Blue credits business volume from small and medium business (SMBs) for its success in the Indian storage market.

According to analyst firm IDC, IBM has 21.8 per cent of market share in external disk storage market. It has 23.7 per cent share of the overall disk storage market, with 81.6 per cent year-on-year growth. Its revenue share increased by 6.9 points in the fourth quarter of 2005 compared to the corresponding period in 2004. The late entrant into the storage arena said its "upfront investment" in storage for SMBs was behind its sustainable growth in the storage arena.

SMBs contribute to 30 per cent, while mid-market and enterprise segments bring in the rest (70 per cent) of storage sales, said Mr Shailesh Agarwal, Country Manager - Storage, IBM Systems & Technology Group, IBM Global Services India.

Calling it an "undiscovered" market, Mr Agarwal said that SMBs could not be ignored. He credited the volume business for the "smooth" growth curve experienced by the company. "Whereas our competitors' dependence on large bids has given them a jigsaw curve, our strategy of two separate teams to target enterprise and SMBs has smoothed the curve," he said.

The external disk storage market has seen stiff competition from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, EMC, Dell and Sun Microsystems. As prices for hardware dropped and spending began shifting towards storage software, they have begun to offer packaged solutions. Yet, IBM has stuck with its open policy - its storage software Tivoli is not bound to the hardware sold.

ILM scene

The company has stepped into the ILM (information lifecycle management) scene with its data categorisation product called Total Productivity Centre. Mr Agarwal called categorisation of data the "first step in the ILM process." He felt that customisation was very important in ILM.

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