IDC and Gartner are both out this week with third quarter 2012 (3Q12) reports on the current status of the worldwide server market. Once again, both analyst firms are reporting continued declines in the server market, though the two firms disagree on the actual numbers.
According to IDC, the worldwide server market had 3Q12 revenue of $12.2 billion for a 4.0 percent year-over-year decrease. In contrast, Gartner reported that the global server market declined by 2.8 percent. Gartner also reported that while revenue is down, shipments actually grew by 2.8 percent.
"The third quarter of 2012 again produced shipment growth on a worldwide level, but server revenue was weak due to ongoing economic weakness and market segment differences," said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.
From IDC's perspective, the 3Q12 server results are the continuation of a trend it has seen for the last four quarters, of year-over-year revenue declines.
"The market was constrained by poor macro-economic conditions in many geographies coupled with a number of technology transitions that served to further hamper the market," said Matt Eastwood, group vice president and general manager, Enterprise Platforms at IDC, in a statement.
Not all sectors of the global server market are in decline. In particular, IDC noted that Linux is growing. Linux server hardware revenues for 3Q12 were reported at $2.6 billion for a 6.6 percent year-over-year gain.
In contrast, both Windows and Unix server hardware revenues are going the other way. Microsoft Windows server hardware declined by 0.9 percent to $6.2 billion and Unix servers declined by 14.2 percent to $2.1 billion.
Both IDC and Gartner also see a trend of growing x86 revenues as other platforms continue to fall. According to IDC, non-x86 servers, including servers based on RISC, EPIC (Itanium-based) and CISC processors, reported revenue of $3.3 billion for a 17.1 percent yearly decline.
Gartner reported a 16.4 percent revenue decline for RISC/Itanium Unix servers year over year to $3.3 billion in 3Q12. This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which non-x86 servers have exhibited a revenue decline. Non-x86 based systems now comprise 27.0 percent of the server market, the lowest percentage of server spending ever recorded by IDC.
In contrast, Gartner reported that x86 server revenues grew by 4.0 percent. IDC reported a 2.0 percent revenue growth for x86 servers with 3Q12 revenues of $8.9 billion.
Both IDC and Gartner have IBM as the top server vendor in the world for 3Q12 by revenue followed by HP. Dell holds down the third spot and Oracle is fourth. Of the four top server vendors, only Dell experienced positive year-over-year revenue growth.