x86 Server Shipments Continue to Grow Worldwide, says Gartner

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With rapid rise in social networking, mobile video conferencing and mobile texting, in addition to cloud services, the demand for data centers has increased tremendously worldwide. As a result, the need for servers has surged significantly. According to market research firm Gartner, Inc., worldwide server shipments in the third quarter of 2011 grew 7.2 percent year-on-year, while revenue increased 5.2 percent year-on-year.

In a statement, Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, said, “The third quarter of 2011 produced growth on a global level but there was some significant variation in growth by region.”

“All regions showed growth in both shipments and vendor revenue except for Western Europe which posted a 4.9 percent decline in revenue for the period. Asia/Pacific grew the most significantly in shipments with a 23.9 percent increase. Eastern Europe posted the highest vendor revenue growth at 27.4 percent for the period,” added Hewitt.

Further commenting on this growth, he said, “x86 servers forged ahead and grew 7.6 percent in units and 9.3 percent in revenue. Some regions like Western Europe and the United States did not produce as much relative x86-based server growth because of comparatively stronger third quarter results in 2010. RISC/Itanium Worldwide Unix server shipments declined 6.8 percent, but vendor revenue increased 3.5 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The ‘other’ CPU category, which is primarily mainframes, showed a decline of 6.9 percent,” Hewitt said.

All of the top five global vendors had revenue increases for the third quarter of 2011 except HP and Oracle. HP declined 3.6 percent year-on-year and Oracle achieved flat growth. IBM took the lead in the worldwide server market based on revenue. The company posted just over $3.8 billion in server vendor revenue for a total share of 29.7 percent for the third quarter of 2011. This share was down 0.5 percent year-on-year. Most of IBM’s revenue growth came from its Power Systems line with some contribution by System X as well, according to Gartner.

Despite year-on-year shipment decline of 3.1 percent for the quarter, HP still remained the worldwide leader in the third quarter of 2011. This decline was driven primarily by drops in HP’s ProLiant brand. HP’s worldwide server shipment share was 29.2 percent representing a 3.1 percent drop in share from the same quarter in 2010.

In terms of server form factors, blade servers rose 3.3 percent in shipments and 7.6 percent in revenue for the quarter. The rack-optimised form factor climbed 8.2 percent in shipments and 6.3 percent in revenue for the third quarter, the Gartner study shows.


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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