Oracle pushes Exadata servers aggressively against IBM PureSystems

IDC’s latest market share data for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has shown that Oracle is beginning to grow its server business

IDC’s latest market share data for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has shown that Oracle is beginning to grow its server business.

In the fourth quarter of 2013 Oracle grew revenue by 7.8%, according to IDC. Giorgio Nebuloni, research manager for the European enterprise server group at IDC said: "Oracle’s Sparc[Unix] server revenue is doing OK – mainly due to a refresh of the platform."

Interest in the new T5 Sparc chip began in the third quarter of 2013, as Unix users began evaluating the new server platform, followed by a boost in sales in the fourth quarter. Thanks to the introduction of the new server chip Oracle’s Sparc revenue grew around 6%, Nebuloni said.

"Oracle has aggressively priced Sparc servers against IBM Power servers. Oracle also has lower end models compared to IBM with 2 socket Sparc servers."

The biggest growth area for Oracle has been in its so-called "engineered systems" appliance servers, according to Nebuloni. He said: "Sales of engineered systems  were up quite a bit, driven by Exadata sales. There were a few larger deals in the quarter in Europe."

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He said Oracle’s engineered systems grew 50% in terms of revenue, thanks to the high cost of the Exadata integrated database appliance. Nebuloni said: "Exadata is a monolithic product sold through an enterprise agreements."

Nebuloni said in the appliance market Oracle competes directly with IBM Pure Systems, HP Converged Infrastructure and Cisco UCS.

Other than Oracle, Nebuloni said the server part of Cisco’s unified computing system  grew 50% range. "Cisco servers are going head to head with IBM for second spot in the blade server market," he said.

Overall, IDC’s market share data showed the Western European market continued to reflect the general trend toward x86 servers, which generated sales of $2.1 billion and showed moderate annual growth of 5.7%. Non-x86 server revenue totalled $710 million, a decline of 22.8%. Despite the encouraging performance on the x86 side, the overall Western European server market shrank 3.5% in fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the same quarter in 2012, IDC noted.

"Large datacentre build-outs by global cloud service providers and social networks accounted for a significant chunk of growth in Western Europe that is most notable in the Nordic region and leads to a greater rise in shipments than revenues due to large deals of commodity servers at low prices from Asian manufacturers as well as major server vendors," said Andreas Olah, research analyst, enterprise server group, IDC.

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