The first quarter of 2011 saw significant year-on-year increases for disk storage systems, according to a study from IDC, with sales rising 12.1 percent from the first quarter of the previous year.

Total sales, the researchers said, reached $7.5 billion, and one company that benefited from the growth across all categories was EMC.

For external disk storage systems, according to IDC, EMC's total market share rose from 24.8 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 27.3 percent this year. The company took in a little more than $1.5 billion in revenue during that time period.

The company also consolidated its leadership position in the open network disk storage systems market, accounting for more than 30 percent of the total sales, IDC added.

Storage server virtualization, enabling a range of users to access a central data store simultaneously, is an attractive prospect for many businesses that are looking for greater flexibility and a simplified IT infrastructure, experts say. Companies like EMC provide much of the hardware framework for such efforts.

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