More Evidence of Server Rebound

By Sean Michael Kerner

A second survey in as many days showed that Linux-based servers grew at an explosive rate during the fourth quarter, even in the context of a strong overall server market.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker showed a 63.1 percent year-over-year growth for Linux servers, generating $960 million for the industry in the last three months of the year.

The results show “that Linux servers are taking on important roles in IT customers’ computing infrastructure,” Jean S. Bozman, an IDC research vice president, said in a statement. “What began with edge and Web-centric workloads is branching out to include (high-performance computing) and commercial workloads.”

Yesterday, Gartner Group released its server sales study, noting a similar trend.

IDC reported that server sales rose to $13.7 billion, while Gartner pegged them at $13.4 billion. In both studies, server sales showed growth over the past three consecutive quarters. And all major categories grew, which according to IDC, is the first time that’s happened since 2001.

In both surveys, IBM held top spot. Gartner reported that IBM revenues grew by $1 billion to $14.8 billion. Big Blue grabbed 1.7 percentage points to capture 32 percent of the total server market share.

IDC had IBM with 37.9 percent market share, a growth rate of 17.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. Growth was partially driven by a 33 percent jump in Big Blue’s OS/390 unit, IDC said.

Both IDC and Gartner have Hewlett-Packard at No. 2, with IDC reporting HP had a 25.8 percent share, growing revenue at 9.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. Gartner said HP boosted revenues 5 percent.

Amidst the sea of gains, Sun declined in the both surveys, dropping 1.7 percent in IDC’s study to a 10.4 percent revenue share. Gartner showed a similar dip, but credited Sun with 11.8 percent.

Rounding out the top vendors was Dell , ending up with an 8.6 percent market share or 19 percent revenue growth according to IDC. Fujitsu sits in the fifth spot after posting the largest gains in growth in the top 5 with a 31.3 percent gain, good for a 5.4 percent market share, IDC said.

The IDC report also shows significant gains in the x86 server market, with revenue up 15 percent and unit shipments up 23 percent. Windows OS servers continue to grow as well. IDC said Windows servers accounted for 31.7 percent of quarterly server market revenue or $3.9 billion in the fourth quarter.

UNIX remains the most prevalent and highest revenue generating server technology. IDC said the lumbering OS giant posted its first year-over-year growth in 11 quarters with revenue growth of 0.8 percent to $5.1 billion in the quarter.

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