FREMONT, Calif. -- Storage specialist 3Par ( PAR) beat Wall Street's estimates in its first quarter results Monday, despite weakening demand for its products.

3Par reported revenue of $44.5 million after market close, up from $43 million in the same period last year, and just above analysts' estimate of $44.4 million.

Excluding items, the storage firm posted flat earnings on net income of $41,000, compared to 3 cents a share and net income of $2 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast a loss of 1 cent a share.

Including items, 3Par lost 3 cents a share on a net loss of $1.8 million, thanks to a stock-based compensation charge, compared to earnings of 1 cent a share and net income of $678,000 in the prior year's quarter.

3Par had originally forecast revenue between $48 million and $50 million, although this was revised down to between $44.2 million and $44.5 million, partly thanks to weak demand.

"Though disappointed by our revenue shortfall against expectations, we are pleased that we grew year-over-year in a difficult economic climate and that we continued to take market share," said David Scott, the 3Par CEO, in a statement.

3Par, which competes with EMC ( EMC) and IBM ( IBM), is seen as well-positioned for the shift towards cloud computing, which will force users to drive more efficiency out of their servers and storage. The Silicon Valley-based firm is a pioneer in thin provisioning, which allocates storage only when it is needed in an attempt to boost utilization rates.

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