The global server market is now undergoing a period of transition, both in terms of technology and vendor leadership. Research firms IDC and Gartner have published their latest quarterly server revenue numbers, and both firms see an overall continued downward slide.
According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker for the first quarter of 2014, overall revenue came in at $10.9 billion, for a 2.2 percent year-over-year decline. In contrast, Gartner reported that it saw a 4.1 percent year-over-year decline on quarterly revenue of $11.4 billion.
From a server shipment perspective, IDC reported that 2.1 million units were shipped in the first quarter, for a 2.1 percent year-over-year improvement. In contrast, Gartner reported that it saw only a 1.4 percent gain in server shipments to 2.4 million units.
Though the overall picture for server revenue is in decline, it's important to note that there are a number of areas that are actually gaining.
IDC reported that x86 server revenues for the first quarter of 2014 came in at $8.9 billion, for a 4.9 percent year-over-year gain. Looking a half level deeper in the x86 market, IDC noted that the market for blade servers grew by 2.3 percent to $2.0 billion, accounting for 18.0 percent of total global server revenue in the first quarter of 2014.
On a global basis, IDC reported that HP holds the top spot for blade server revenue with a 43.7 percent share. Cisco comes in second at 24.4 percent and IBM is third at 12.3 percent.
Looking specifically at North America, Cisco is claiming the title of being the top x86 Blade Server vendor. Of the top server vendors globally, IDC rated Cisco as having the highest year-over-year growth rate at 37.0 percent.
"Disruptive innovation has been the secret to our server success,” said Paul Perez, vice president and general manager, Cisco UCS, in a statement. "In 2009 we delivered the first true innovation the server industry had seen in over a decade. Five years later, we're now the undisputed leader in x86 blade servers across the Americas, and are poised to capture the worldwide market over the next few quarters."
In contrast to the x86 market, non-x86 server revenue growth is going the other direction. IDC reported a negative growth rate 25.2 percent in the first quarter for non-x86 servers.