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Hyperscale computing boosts server revenue

The likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft have bolstered server sales as they build increasingly powerful scale-out datacentres

Sales of servers increased in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015 due to the growth in hyperscale computing coming from social media and cloud services.

According to the latest figures from analyst Gartner, worldwide server shipments increased 8.2% year over year, while revenue grew 9.2% from the fourth quarter of 2014.

Overall, worldwide server shipments grew 9.9%, while server revenue increased 10.1% in 2015.

Gartner reported that x86 servers continued to be the main platform used for large-scale datacentres.

Integrated systems – where the server, storage and other datacentre components are part of the same box, while still relatively small as an overall percentage of the hardware infrastructure market – also provided some growth contribution to the x86 server space for the year.

Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice-president at Gartner, noted that Gartner’s “others” category saw the biggest growth.

“This collection of unspecified suppliers – which includes original design manufacturers, such Quanta and Wistron – contributed more than $750m in revenue and more than 170,000 server unit shipments for the period. This demonstrates that the growth of hyperscale datacentres, such as those of Facebook, Google and Microsoft, continues to be the leading contributor to physical server increases globally,” said Hewitt.

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Europe continued to lag behind the US, when Gartner looked at the number of servers shipped. However, the Asia-Pacific (Apac) showed it had the biggest appetite for servers, where shipments grew by more than a fifth. Server revenue in Europe grew 1.3% in spite of the strong US dollar, which made server purchases more expensive.

Adrian O’Connell, research director at Gartner, said: Revenue benefited from the appreciation of the US dollar. Helped by the usual replacement cycle, many infrastructure deployments continued to occur despite dollar-related price increases.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) led the worldwide server market based on revenue with 25.2% share of the market, although its server revenue declined 2.2% compared with Q4 2014.The number of servers it shipped also declined.

According to Gartner, the main decline in HPE’s server shipments was due to global weakness in Windows-based x86 servers, while the decline in revenue was driven mostly by a drop in RISC/Itanium Unix server sales for the period.

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