Companies around the world are increasing their investments in storage software, according to IDC, which said that the market grew by more than 12 percent year-over-year during the first quarter.

Eric Sheppard, the company's director of storage software research, said that there were multiple factors driving the market's growth.

"New storage technologies that help drive improved asset utilization and operational expenses clearly appeal to many IT departments. This, coupled with a demand for data protection and business continuity, has helped to drive the growth in the storage software market," he said.

Storage infrastructure - including virtualized infrastructure offerings - was among the hottest growth areas, IDC reported.

Of the major players in the market, EMC was a clear winner in the first three months of the year, growing its revenues by 19 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

The new storage technologies referenced by Sheppard are likely to continue to fuel interest and investment in this market sector, experts say, particularly as various types of virtualized services come into wider use.

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