Demand for blades and x86 boxes drives server sales


Worldwide server revenues reach $13bn in Q3 2006.

Strong demand for blades and x86 servers helped push worldwide server shipments for the third quarter of 2006 by 9.1 percent compared to the same quarter last year, new research has reported.

According to Gartner, worldwide server revenue for the quarter climbed 4.4 percent while revenues reached US$13bn.

"Blade servers and x86 servers continue to produce the highest growth levels within the overall market," said Jeffrey Hewitt, research director at Gartner.

"Both of these server types show ongoing installation growth at the front and middle of the Web server tiers. RISC-Itanium Unix servers fell six percent in shipments for the quarter, but grew slightly in revenue at 0.6 per cent."

The top three shipment leaders in order in this segment (Sun Microsystems, IBM and HP) retained their relative positions from the same quarter last year, but their revenue positions reshuffled with IBM taking the lead, Sun in second place and HP in third.

IBM continued to lead the worldwide server market based on revenue, enjoying increases for the quarter in System p/p Series, System x/x Series and System z/z Series, but experiencing declines in System i/i Series which resulted in an overall revenue increase of 7.4 percent for the quarter.

Big Blue increased its shipments 7.7 percent for the period, but it lost 0.2 percent of shipment share compared to the same quarter a year ago.

In terms of server shipments, HP dropped 0.5 percent in share but retained its worldwide server shipment lead. The share gap between HP and second-place Dell dropped 0.8 percent for the quarter.

Based on server shipments, HP maintained its number one position with 214,000 units. IBM and Dell remained in their respective second and the third positions, with just under 4,000 units separating the two vendors.

"Fujitsu Siemens was the only vendor among the top five manufacturers to record a year-on-year shipment decline in the third quarter of 2006, but despite this fall the company managed to secure its fourth position," said Malik.

In revenue terms, IBM regained the number one spot from HP, reversing the number one and two positions from the second quarter.

IBM's server revenue increased 12.8 percent year on year, with a 34.3 percent share of the total EMEA server revenue market.

HP's server revenue declined 6.2 percent compared to the same period last year, accounting for 31 percent of the total EMEA server revenue market.

"Sun had an outstanding third quarter, exhibiting the highest server revenue growth of the top five vendors. Demand for the refreshed product line, the T1 and Opteron-based systems in particular helped the company drive its revenue upwards," Malik said.

For the second consecutive quarter, Sun posted "significant" annual growth in shipments and revenue for the period at 6.4 and 24.7 percent respectively.

Dell also posted growth in shipments (10.5 percent) and revenue (10.9 per cent), while the fifth global vendor, Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens, fell 5.9 percent in shipments and 8.6 percent in revenue for the quarter.

In EMEA, server shipments in the third quarter of 2006 increased 2.7 percent over the same quarter last year, while server revenue for the same period increased 3.5 percent.

Server revenue totalled US$3.89bn for the quarter and server shipments reached 572,000 units in EMEA.

"In EMEA, the third quarter of 2006 saw a slight slowdown in x86 server shipment growth, at three percent increase year on year. The blade server segment continued to account for strong demand and shipments increased 34.2 percent," said Samina Malik, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"RISC-Itanium Unix servers returned to growth this quarter, with shipments increasing 0.5 percent and revenue growing 2.9 percent."

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Demand for blades and x86 boxes drives server sales
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