Blade slowdown put to the sword

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Blade slowdown put to the sword

Local blade vendors have slammed predictions by Gartner that the segment will experience the slowest growth in shipments and revenue globally until 2012.

Gartner attributed the predicted slowdown in blade server growth in A/NZ to the maturity level of the market, and high acceptance of the technology among local users.

But vendors including HP, Sun Microsystems and IBM have denied the best days for the local blade market are over.

“I feel that the market hasn’t yet peaked [for HP],” said Ray Maisano, marketing manager for HP BladeSystems in A/NZ.

“The market is still growing for us, and my forecast for the next few years is for solid growth.”

Sam Tan, product marketing manager for Sun Microsystems, concurs.

“We’re definitely seeing a very large adoption rate for blade servers by customers locally, compared to any other market in Asia Pacific,” explained Tan.

“We’re not really seeing any slowdown of growth from our customer base.”

Both HP and Sun claimed that they would fuel growth by taking market share from competitors.

Aside from that strategy, IBM’s A/NZ systems sales manager, Steve Tong, told iTnews that there are a number of opportunities for growth outside of traditional blade segments.

“There are so many opportunities in large enterprise upgrades, channel-driven SMB, and midmarket installations that sellers in Australia will find no shortage of opportunities, regardless of what is happening in the rest of the world,” said Tong.

HP also cited the SMB space as a growing opportunity for blades, claiming that the cost is now comparable to purchasing two basic servers.

Sun Microsystems expressed skepticism over the potential of the SMB market for blade servers.

“I think people would like to sell into that market, but it’s a bad fit for blades,” explained Tan.

“SMBs would be much better off purchasing a simple rack server than taking on the overhead associated with blades.”

Sun claimed it will fuel future blade growth among its SPARC customer install base.

Gartner said that for the full year 2007 in Australia and New Zealand, blade server shipments were 17,800 units and vendor revenue was US$80 million, representing growth of 37 percent in units and 89 percent in revenue from 2006.

Australia represented about 85 percent of these total figures.

The analyst firm also said that, based on last October’s forecast update, the five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2007-2012 for blade servers in A/NZ is around 16 percent for shipments and nine percent for revenue.

Despite predicting a long-term slowdown in the market, Gartner has conceded that 1Q08 performance is pointing to 'another bullish year for the blade server market in A/NZ', the firm told iTnews in a statement.

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