Oracle took a severe pounding in the server stakes in the last quarter of 2010, with EMEA shipments down 49% and revenues down 42%. However, having lost position in Q3 to NEC, the vendor did manage to claw its way back into Gartner's list of top five server vendors.
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In a market that saw overall sales growth of 10%, Oracle made sales of $217m and accounted for 5.1% of the market, putting it in fifth place behind Fujitsu, Dell, IBM and HP. Big Blue and HP made sales of $1.3bn, up 19.2%, and $1.5bn, up 8.5%, respectively.
However, by Gartner's estimates Oracle shipped just over 10,900 servers in the region, representing a meagre 1.5% of the market.This reflected its struggles with the Sun Microsystems business and put it firmly behind Fujitsu, IBM, Dell and HP.
Across EMEA, shipments hit 706,000 in the last three months of the year, up 4.4% on the same period last year, with HP leading the pack, accounting for 43.6% of the addressable market, with second-placed Dell taking 16.9% and third placed IBM down 8% to 13.9%.
Gartner research director Adrian O'Connell said that "EMEA was particularly badly hit by the downturn in 2009 and, although economic concerns continue across much of the region, the server market has shown good momentum during 2010.
"We need to recognise that the market is still in a fairly tentative recovery mode. Many companies are still in cost-containment mode and, although 2010 growth levels were strong, we're still some way off the revenue highs that we saw in 2007," he added.
The x86 market again demonstrated its growing importance to the overall server sector, said O'Connell.
"x86 revenue increased 17.4% in the fourth quarter and accounted for two thirds of total server revenue. Virtualization, blades, 4 and 8 socket systems and richer configurations are all driving these strong revenue levels," he said.
This was enhanced by good high-end sales of IBM's System Z kit, said O'Connell.
Risc and Itanium UNIX vendors again had a torrid three months, with revenues down 19.3% as the market was squeezed by x86 and System Z.
In worldwide terms, the top five vendors by revenue were IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle and Fujitsu. Meanwhile HP led the market in shipments, with Dell second, IBM third, and Fujitsu and Oracle in fourth and fifth.
Gartner research vice president Jeffrey Hewitt said: "The introduction of new processors from Intel and AMD toward the end of 2009 helped fuel a pretty significant replacement cycle of servers that had been maintained in place during the economic downturn in 2009."
Gartner's analysts also noted that new entrant Cisco enjoyed a low single-digit share in its first full year in the market.
The global outlook for 2011 suggests that growth will continue during the year, albeit at lower levels as the x86 refresh cycle is largely past.
HP and IBM, said Gartner, will continue to play tag at the top.