The Nano-NAS market is now a femto-flop being eaten by the cloud

Of 68.5 million desktop storage devices sold in 2015, just 1% had 3 or more bays

The very small network attached storage (NAS) market is scarcely alive, according to IDC's 2015 Worldwide Personal and Entry-Level Storage Tracker.

The analyst firm defines personal storage has having one or two disks and entry-level storage as packing three to twelve disk bays.

The former category now accounts for 99 per cent of all sales in the combined segments, IDC says. That means that of the 68,466,000 devices the firm says shipped in 2015, just 700,000 or so were small NAS devices. The rest were either single USB-connected disks or two-bay NAS.

The whole segment's sliding, as 2015's shipments were down from 2014's 75,377,000 units shoved out the door. The culprit? Cloud, which users increasingly see as a fine alternative to desktop storage. And why wouldn't they, given that the likes of Microsoft fling a terabyte of capacity at users when they sign up for Office 365? Lock-in, you say. Fair point.

But we digress.

Those still buying in these segments now prefer disks with three to five terabytes capacity, preferably with USB connections. IDC sees USB-C as likely to attract buyers' attention, albeit at the expense of Thunderbolt.

Western Digital leads the combined markets, with just under 32 per cent of sales. Seagate's a solid number two, with its 26 per cent handily ahead of Toshiba's 17 per cent. All are streets ahead of fourth-placed Buffalo's three per cent, although “others” account for 21 per cent of sales. Imation's down in there somewhere, having made the decision to exit personal devices and acquire Connected Data to attack the entry-level space in what looks a curious decision given the small market.

The cash hauled in by these devices remains significant, at US$5.4 billion, but with sales sinking fast its clear cloud is having its way with another market segment. ®

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