2013 Global Server Market Continues to Decline

Thursday Feb 27th 2014 by Sean Michael Kerner
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The latest analyst numbers from IDC and Gartner show a continued revenue backslide in 2013, though actual server shipment volume is up.

The server business had a mixed 2013. According to IDC's fourth quarter 2013 Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, global revenue came in at $14.2 billion, which is a 4.4 percent year-over-year decline. In contrast, analyst firm Gartner reported that fourth quarter server revenues declined by 6.6 percent.

On the other side of the equation, IDC reported that server shipments came in at 2.5 million units, which is an 8.2 percent year-over-year gain. Server World Market ReportGartner reported that server shipments grew 3.2 percent year-over-year.

In IDC's numbers, for the full 2013 year, global server revenue was reported at $49.7 billion, for a 4.4 percent year-over-year decline. Gartner's number were similar, showing a revenue decline of 4.5 percent year-over-year.

Linux and Unix

The fortunes of Linux and UNIX server revenues are as divergent as they come. One operating system is on a steep downward trajectory, while the other continues to rise.

Linux server revenues were reported by IDC at $4.1 billion for the fourth quarter, for a 14.4 percent year-over-year gain. According to IDC, Linux now holds a 28.5 percent share of all global server revenues.

In contrast, Unix servers now only represent 13.6 percent of server revenues. According to IDC, Unix server revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 came in at $1.9 billion, for a 20.2 percent year-over-year decline.

"The Unix market continued its secular decline, and mainframes had large declines on a difficult compare to a year ago, amid explosive growth in hyperscale and ODM Direct sales," said Kuba Stolarski, Research Manager, Servers at IDC, in a statement.

"As the Unix server market continues to undergo consolidation and price compression, and as mainframes find their niche, IDC believes that the server market is very close to a tipping point, when hyperscale growth will be large enough to overshadow declines in the high-end," Stolarski continued.

Microsoft Windows continues to hold onto server revenue market share, with quarterly revenue of $6.5 billion. Windows now holds a 45.7% of overall global server revenues.

Hardware Vendors

From a vendor perspective, IDC sees IBM and HP as being in a statistical tie for first place, while Gartner puts HP in that spot by a very slim margin.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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