External drive array revenues only grew 3.3 percent year on year, from the second calendar quarter in 2006 (Q2 06) to Q2 07 at $3.7 billion, according to Gartner. There were surprises in the ranking of vendors on their market revenues and share:-

1. EMC with a 25.2 percent revenue market share at $933.3 million, up 1.2 percent on Q2 06. It grew.

2. IBM with a 14.8 percent share at $549 million, up 0.1 percent on Q2 06. It held its own.

3. HP with a 13.8 percent share at $511.2 million, down from a Q2 06 share of 14.7 percent. Oops.

4. Dell at a 9.2 percent share with $339.5 million, up from 7.6 percent in Q206, a growth of 25.1 percent in its market share number. Terrific growth. It has leap-frogged Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and left NetApp behind.

5. HDS with an 8.2 percent share at $304.1 million. It had a 8.4 percent market share in Q2 06 so has dropped a little, like HP. (The HDS number excludes revenue from its OEMs, HP and Sun.)

6. NetApp with a 7.8 percent market share and $290.4 million revenue number. Its market share dropped from Q2 06 when it was 7.6 percent but its revenue rose from the Q2 06 total of $271 million. It's not rowing as fast as the market.

7.Sun posted a relative disaster with a $176.2 million revenue number giving it a 4.8 percent market share, down from a 7.7 percent figure in Q2 06 when its revenue was $275.6 million, higher than Dell in the same quarter. Well, well. Its revenue amount and market share are shrinking in a growing market.

8. 'Other suppliers' collectively grew their market revenue share from $553.8 million in Q2 06 to $599.23 million in Q2 07. Good news for Xyratex, Dot Hill, Nexsan, 3PAR, Pillar, etc.

More details can be found in the report, entitled Market Share: Disk Array Storage, All Regions, All Countries, 1Q05-2Q07, which is available from Gartner's website.

The risers are EMC, top dog again, EMC, and a happy happy Dell. Fallers are HP, HDS (but maybe not if its OEM client numbers are included although, possibly tellingly, both its OEM clients posted declining market revenue shares), NetApp and Sun.

NetApp has previously said it has been affected by a product transition in its high-end arrays. HP has recently said that its high-end drive array sales, the HDS kit, has begun to get back on track after several quarters of unsatisfactory sales.

It looks as if HDS needs more OEM partners as neither HP, nor Sun are doing as well for it as can be hoped.

It also looks as if low-end and mid-range drive array sales are booming. That's where Dell is gobbling up revenue market share and, presumably where Sun is weak. NetApp is refreshing its channel program and has its StoreVault kit which is exclusively channel-based.

With this revenue background we can see why Sun is very keen to get an ecosystem around the X4500 hybrid server/storage product to drive up its sales.