IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker has revealed that even though overall revenues are growing, state-of-the-art management techniques such as virtualisation are putting the brakes on server growth in the volume sector.
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The research firm says that factory revenue in the worldwide server market grew 3.5% year over year to $12.9bn in the third quarter of 2006, the fastest growth rate in four quarters and the largest third quarter spending on servers since the same period in 2000. It adds that server blades were the main driver for worldwide demand, with year-over-year growth of 29.9%.
High-end enterprise server revenue grew 9.1% year-over-year, which represented the primary growth engine for the server market overall and, says IDC, is the first positive growth for the segment since the third quarter of 2004.
The firm believes that the growing use of virtualisation was the driver for slower growth in the volume server market in the third quarter, with spending growing 3.8% year-over-year, the fourth consecutive quarter of single-digit growth and the slowest growth since the third quarter on 2002.
Revenue for midrange enterprise servers declined 2.3% year-over-year, marking the fourth consecutive quarterly decrease in that segment.
The firm found a year-over-year unit shipment growth of 7.4%, the ninth consecutive quarter of slowing overall shipment growth. IDC says that the trend reflects moderating unit growth in the volume server segment as server virtualisation and consolidation continue to gain a foothold with mainstream IT users worldwide.
In terms of vendors, Microsoft Windows server revenues grew 4.6% year-over-year and quarterly factory revenue of $4.8bn for Windows servers represented the largest single segment of the server market. Linux server revenue was $1.5bn for the quarter as growth
continues to moderate, with year-over-year revenue growth of 5.4%. Unix servers experienced a 1.7% decline in factory revenue year-over-year.
Worldwide Unix revenues of more than $3.9bn for the quarter represented 30.1% of overall quarterly factory revenue. In the x86 market segment, AMD-based server revenue grew 79.7% year-over-year, accounting for 19.8% of all worldwide x86 server revenue in the quarter.
Intel gained x86 market share sequentially for the first time in four years and Intel-branded processors maintained 80.2% of all x86 server spending in the quarter. EPIC/Itanium-based systems grew 23.8% year-over-year, generating more than $700m in revenue for the second consecutive quarter and now representing 11.2% of all non-x86
By vendor, IBM maintained the number-one spot in the worldwide server systems market with 33.1% market share in factory revenue, growing its revenue by 6.6% when compared with the same quarter one year ago. HP continued to hold the number-two spot in terms of factory revenue with 27.7% share, a 2.1% year-over-year revenue decline.
Dell and Sun ended the third quarter in a statistical tie for the number-three position. Dell experienced 3.8% year-over-year revenue growth in 3Q 2006 and captured 10.5% market share for the quarter. Sun captured 10.0% market share in 3Q 2006 on the basis of strong year-over-year revenue growth of 15.8%.
In terms of unit shipments, HP maintained the number-one position worldwide with 28.8% server shipment share, growing shipments 7.6% year-over-year. Dell maintained the number-two spot in terms of worldwide server shipments with 24.6% share, up from 23.9% share in 3Q05.