The Middle East and Africa (MEA) external storage market may have suffered a marginal 2% year-on-year decline in revenue during the first quarter of 2014, but the downturn can be attributed to an annual quirk in the market according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Referencing its ‘EMEA Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker’, the global research and advisory services firm today announced that external storage revenue in MEA contracted to $229 million in Q1 2014, but referred to the decline as a “typical slump before the surge.” Terabyte capacity, meanwhile, was up 38% over the same period.
”The shrinkage in the market can be attributed to the fact that most countries within the region have seasonal growth trends, with the first quarter being the slowest as budget allocations and investment plans have yet to be finalized in a number of key sectors,” says Adriana Rangel, research director for systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
“The second half of the calendar year usually accounts for the higher share of yearly enterprise systems investments, with the final quarter being the strongest.”
Zeroing in on the individual countries, the UAE saw a 5% increase in external storage revenue when compared to Q1 2013, with run-rate business accentuated by investments within the telecommunications and government sectors. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, suffered a downturn of 6% over the same period. “This decline was mainly due to key pipeline projects within the country’s oil and gas sector being delayed toward mid-year implementations,” says Swapna Subramani, a senior research analyst at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
The ‘other Gulf Cooperation Council’ (OGCC) countries, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, had posted impressive growth in each quarter of 2013 but witnessed a combined year-on-year decline of 8% during the first quarter of 2014. “The only positive performance within this group was Oman, where several ongoing projects within key government ministries kept the investment fervor upbeat,” continues Subramani. Of the ‘Rest of the Middle East’ countries, Iraq emerged as a bright spot in Q1 2014 with phenomenal year-on-year growth of 102%. “From a relatively small installed base, the country is emerging as a lucrative opportunity for enterprise systems adoption, spurred mainly by government spending and the now developing financial sector,” adds Subramani.
North Africa (specifically, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) experienced a slump in external storage shipments in Q1 2014 as inflation continued to spiral across the region. Meanwhile, the South African storage market declined 3% year on year due to a decline in major projects. The external storage market in Egypt contracted marking the continuation of a trend that blighted the market throughout 2013, with government spending at a standstill and political instability engulfing the country.
From a protocol perspective, InfiniBand witnessed robust year-on-year growth of 62% in Q1 2014 owing to high-performance computing projects implemented. The NAS and iSCSI protocols also witnessed healthy growth and have a massive scope in the region as enterprises understand the scalability and flexibility benefits that these protocols offer over the traditional Fibre Channel Protocol.