Server shipments rose 7% in 2011 as businesses built datacentres and smartphones and tablets were increasingly used to access web content.
The latest figures from Gartner show 9.5 million servers were sold worldwide in 2011, compared to almost 8.9 million in 2010.
In Europe, Middle East and Africa, about 2.6 million servers were sold in 2011, a rise of 3% on 2010.
“2011 was a year that saw worldwide server growth driven by mega datacentres and the explosion of client devices such as smartphones and tablets accessing web content,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice-president at Gartner.
X86 servers are the predominant platform used for large-scale datacentres.
Hewitt said that, while server virtualisation will buffer sales though the consolidation of physical servers, new Intel and AMD processors will spark a server replacement cycle.
In 2011, HP sold the most severs with a 0.2% increase to about 2.8 million. Dell held the second largest market share with sales of over 2.1 million servers.