Linux suffers server sales slowdown

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Linux suffers server sales slowdown

Dell down, Sun up in latest IDC Server Tracker.

A slowdown in demand for Linux servers did not prevent overall global server sales inching up 0.6 percent year over year to US$12.3bn in the second quarter of 2006, new research has revealed.

IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker found that demand in the US and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) led to positive results in these markets.

The regions showed year-over-year growth of 3.6 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, while weaker results in EMEA and Japan brought the overall growth rate down.

After 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit, year-over-year revenue growth, IDC reported that spending on Linux servers "moderated significantly", growing 6.1 percent to US$1.5b when compared with the second quarter of 2005.

Linux servers now represent 12 percent of all server revenue, up slightly from the second quarter of 2005. Linux server shipments grew 9.7 percent, with the volume server segment representing the majority of both revenue and units.

Unix servers experienced a 1.6 percent revenue decline year over year as unit shipments fell 1.8 percent when compared with the second quarter of 2005.

Worldwide Unix revenues reached US$4.3b for the quarter, representing 35 per cent of quarterly server spending and reflecting continued IT investment in this server market segment, with particular strength in the volume segment of the Unix market.
Microsoft Windows servers enjoyed positive growth as revenues grew 3.1 percent and unit shipments grew 11 percent year over year.

Significantly, quarterly revenue of US$4.2b for Windows servers represented 34.2 percent of overall quarterly factory revenue, as customers deployed more fully configured Windows servers as part of server consolidation and virtualisation initiatives.

"Linux and Windows servers continued to grow unit shipments at double-digit rates, but revenue growth for both types of servers moderated to single-digit growth," said Jean S. Bozman, research vice president for worldwide server research at IDC.

"This shows that average sales values are under intense price pressure as workloads are consolidated on small form-factors, and as server vendors compete intensely on volume server platforms that are the key building-blocks for scale-out deployments."

The analyst firm found that volume server revenue grew 6.2 percent year over year and continues to represent the only growth segment for the server market overall. This was the third consecutive quarter of single-digit growth for the volume server market.

The midrange enterprise server segment experienced a year-over-year revenue decline of -3.5 percent, the third consecutive quarterly decrease for the segment.

Meanwhile, the high-end enterprise server market declined 6.9 percent year over year, the seventh consecutive quarter of reduced spending for this segment.

IBM maintained the number one spot in the worldwide server systems market with 31 per cent market share in factory revenue while experiencing a 2.2 per cent year-over-year revenue decline in the second quarter.

HP continued to hold the number two spot in terms of factory revenue with 27.8 per cent, although its revenue declined 1.7 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2005.

Sun Microsystems gained significant market share for the second consecutive quarter with 15.5 percent year-over-year revenue growth in the second quarter of 2006.

Sun increased its overall market share to 12.9 percent from 11.2 percent in the second quarter of 2005, and regained the number three ranking in the worldwide server market.

Dell fell back into the number four position with 10.3 percent revenue-based market share in the second quarter of 2006. This represented a 1.3 percent decline in revenue and a loss of 0.2 points of overall market share.
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