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White box servers posing threat to established players

The analysis of Q1 server sales from Gartner has revealed a market under strain with more resellers opting for white box options

The server market suffered a poor start to the year with revenues and shipments declining with demand from the SME market remaining a difficult place to sell the hardware.

Q1 analysis from Gartner indicated that revenues in EMEA fell by 11.2% and shipments dropped year on year by 8% and were down by 4.2% and 4.5% respectively worldwide.

"The EMEA server market has started 2017 in the same way as 2016 ended," said Adrian O'Connell, research director at Gartner. "The main challenge for vendors in the region is that increased levels of economic and political uncertainty are putting pressure on an already weak server market."

The main vendor to come out of Q1 in EMEA on top was Dell which is finding that the ownership of EMC is having a positive impact.

All of the other vendors saw declines in Q1 but HPE is still market leader with 33% market share and the others shuffled up in the rankings with IBM dropping out now its x86 business sale to Lenovo has come through the system.

"The first quarter of the year tends to be relatively strong for Dell, but the acquisition of EMC is proving positive for the server business at the moment," said O'Connell.

"HPE's size means it is subject to the moves of the wider market more than some other vendors. Weakness in the business segment and sourcing changes in the service provider space have reduced its revenue significantly," he added that its revenue dropped by 18.2%.

Among the analysis of the numbers the other trend of note for the channel is the decision by more resellers to opt for white box servers from ODMs.

"Leading server vendors will be doing all they can to ensure that service providers don’t continue to shift their server purchases toward ODM suppliers," added O'Connell. "Combined with the significant inroads made by China-based suppliers, we expect to see continuing challenges and downward price pressure across the EMEA server market for some time to come."

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