Apple has quietly become the world's tenth-ranked storage vendor, according to the analysts at Gartner.

The company's Xserve and Xserve RAID products have been stealthily gaining ground, they said. Gartner vice president of research Robert Cox told Smarthouse that Apple: "Has done a good job of selling into the small and medium business market."

In 2004, Apple's storage products put the company into 12th place in the market, but sales of these products climbed from $78 million in 2004 to $185 million by 2005, Gartner claimed.

The secret is the ability to connect Xserve RAIDs to non-Mac OS servers, Smarthouse explains. Cox states: "(Apple) is in a good and a growing market, and has done a good job of building a reliable and easy to use device from commodity components."

Price and product quality set Apple's storage offerings apart. It's a major future possibility, as the market is valued at $14.5 billion per year.

The report suggests Apple will continue to "do well" in the sector, and suggests the company should move to next-generation storage technologies such as SAScsi (Serial attached SCSI) to up its offering.