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By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2004-08-02 Print this article Print

Servers, however, march to a variety of different beats. The heterogeneous server market is made up of a number of proprietary server architectures and operating systems as well as the more "standard" X86 architecture.
"What we think is going to happen is that the range will be a revenue growth on a worldwide basis of about 6-plus percent," said Jeff Hewitt, a Gartner server analyst. "The best-case scenario that we could have is just over 10 percent. That would be pretty spectacular, and a pretty great thing, and I think that would be wonderful really—but if I look at the second half of the year right now were looking at between 4 and 12 percent year-on-year for each quarter."
The impetus behind that growth is growing connectivity; for example, a corporation adding more wireless connections generally increases demand on a companys internal LAN and server infrastructure, Hewitt said. Likewise, the push to connect smart phones and PDAs to the Internet via 3G services means more servers are getting hit with requests for data. Finally, more enterprises are using compute-intensive applications to solve business problems: "I am aware of a disposable diaper company using fluid dynamics to improve their designs," Hewitt deadpanned. One interesting trend is the shift to X86-based servers from RISC machines, which will hurt revenue projections but not unit volume, Hewitt said. A more serious problem could be a CIOs decision to postpone the purchase of a RISC-based server as its cost might push him over budget, he said. Moreover, three top microprocessor architectures—the IBM POWER, the Sun UltraSparc and the Intel Itanium—are all undergoing shifts to the next-generation architecture, he said. Purchasing a "commodity" X86 server brings with it cheaper infrastructure components, such as memory, analysts said. The combination of a lower purchase price and cheaper components might hurt purchases of back-iron hardware in the short term, eventually leading to a long-term decline, Hewitt said. Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.


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