IDC Reports Strong Server Sales

by Stuart J. Johnston

IDC says server sales, especially for non-x86 platforms, continued to grow but how long can it keep up?

Analyst firm IDC’s latest Quarterly Server Tracker shows server shipments gained 8.5 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2011 to total 2.1 million units, the second largest total ever reported in any prior second quarter.

Additionally, it was the sixth consecutive quarter for revenue growth as server sales gained 17.9 percent to reach $13.2 billion in the quarter, and the seventh consecutive quarter of growth for the "volume" server category, the IDC report said.

"Server market growth accelerated in 2Q11 [the second quarter of 2011] and experienced its highest reported second quarter revenue in three years with all geographies contributing to the positive year-over-year growth," Matt Eastwood, group vice president for enterprise platforms at IDC, said in a statement.

"This was the fifth consecutive quarter with double-digit year-over-year revenue growth as the market recovery continued to extend from x86 servers to midrange Unix to high-end mainframe class systems," he added.

IBM and HP were virtually tied for top revenue position in the server market this time around, with IBM at 30.5 percent and HP at 29.8 percent for the quarter. IBM experienced year-over-year revenue gains of 24.5 percent, based on strong sales of System x, Power Systems, and System z.

Meanwhile, HP had revenue gains of 9.3 percent based on solid demand for x86-based ProLiant servers and blades, the report said.

IBM banked $4 billion for the quarter, while HP posted $3.9 billion.

Dell came in at third place with 5.1 percent growth fueled by sales to small and medium-sized business customers, for a total of $1.8 billion. Oracle and Fujitsu came in a virtual tie for fourth place with market share of 7.2 and 6.8 percent, or $941 million and $849 million, respectively.

Among the report's other findings, non-x86 servers, which includes RISC, Itanium-based, and CISC servers, gained 23.3 percent over the same quarter last year for a total of $4.8 billion. It was the third consecutive quarter in which non-x86 servers grew and the second quarter in which non-x86 servers have grown faster than the overall server market.

That may not last, however.

"While 2Q11 was an exceptionally strong quarter, attention has already turned to the market outlook for the second half of the year [and] IDC believes that weakening macroeconomic conditions around the world will serve to moderate demand for new servers later this year," Eastwood said.


Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

This article was originally published on Wednesday Aug 24th 2011
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