HP, IBM and Oracle all saw a jump in demand for non-x86 servers in the first quarter, according to numbers from IDC.
Hewlett-Packard and IBM remained No. 1
and 2 in server revenue during the first quarter, with revenue gains fueled in
part by growing demand for high-end non-x86 systems, according to market
research firm IDC.
In figures released May 24, IDC
analysts noted that while the x86 server market continued its steady revenue
growth, non-industry-standard systems-including RISC, EPIC (based on Intel's
Itanium processor) and CICS-also saw significant increases in revenue, giving
further boost to not only HP and IBM, but also Oracle, which passed the
one-year anniversary of its $7.9 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems and
its SPARC/Solaris hardware portfolio.
Revenue for non-x86 servers jumped 12.3
percent over the same period last year, to $4 billion, marking the second
consecutive quarter of growth for the space and the first time in two years
that revenue in the market grew faster than the overall server space, according
to IDC analysts. The growth was driven in large part by greater demand for Unix
servers and IBM's System z mainframe systems.
"The Unix server marketplace is
seeing new market dynamics centered on technology refresh for mission-critical
workloads, a new provider in Oracle, and a new product set across all of the
top 4 Unix server vendors," Jean Bozman, research vice president of
enterprise servers at IDC, said in a statement. "This segment was hard-hit
in 2009 and 2010 during the economic downturn as customers deferred or delayed
acquisition of midrange and high-end Unix servers. There is also continuing
competition for enterprise workloads with non-Unix platforms. However, as IDC
projected, there has been a return to growth in this segment in 2011, as
customers' servers are being refreshed to carry forward Unix-specific,
That was illustrated by the numbers.
For Unix servers, Q1 was the first quarter in the past 11 quarters to show
year-on-year revenue growth, increasing 12.5 percent over the same period last
year. IBM, HP and Oracle all saw improvements in their Unix server revenue
numbers, with worldwide Unix revenues growing to $2.6 billion and representing
21.8 percent of all quarterly server revenue. Meanwhile, revenue for IBM's
System z servers running z/OS grew for the third consecutive quarter, jumping
41.1 percent over the first quarter in 2010, to $1 billion. It represents 8.8
percent of overall server revenue.
Overall server revenue worldwide jumped
12.1 percent over the same period last year, growing to $11.9 billion in the
quarter. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth
in the space. In addition, server unit shipments also grew, increasing 2.5
percent to 1.9 million units. That is the second highest first-quarter total
ever reported, according to IDC analysts.
The good fortune hit every segment of
the server space, from volume systems to midrange and high-end servers.
infrastructure refresh occurred across all geographies in the quarter," Matt
Eastwood, group vice president of enterprise platforms at IDC, said in a
statement. "Although the public sector weakened, worldwide demand for servers
across hosters, SMBs, and enterprise customers remained strong."
Eastwood said the revenue growth in all
three server segments-and among x86 systems, Unix servers and mainframes-was an
indication that "heterogeneous systems remain critically important to customers
addressing a wide range of workload needs in their datacenters. As we moved
into 2011, IDC predicted the technology refresh cycle would extend from volume-
to value-oriented systems with somewhat longer planning horizons, and this is
HP's revenue grew 10.8 percent, thanks
to higher demand for both its x86 ProLiant systems and high-end Integrity-based
Itanium servers, IDC analysts said. HP had 31.5 percent market share for the
quarter, while IBM was second with 29.2 percent. IBM also saw growing demand
for its non-x86 systems, in particular its Power servers and mainframes. Dell
came in third with 15.6 percent market share, followed by Oracle with 6.5
percent and Fujitsu with 4.8 percent. Fujitsu also was the only vendor in the
top five to see a drop in revenue.
In addition, IDC began tracking Cisco
Systems, with its x86-based UCS (Unified Computing System). Cisco garnered a
1.6 percent market share, thanks in large part to its strength in x86-based