The worldwide server market ended 2011 with mixed results, as worldwide revenue in this space declined 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 while shipments increased 4.5 percent, according to Gartner.
For the year, worldwide server revenue grew 7.9 percent, and server shipments increased 7 percent, with IBM taking the revenue crown and HP leading in shipments.
The shortage of hard-disk drive inventory because of the Thailand floods in October 2011 provided supply issues, and many providers could not meet the demand in the last weeks of 2011, said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. We expect the negative impact of these drive supply issues to continue into 1Q12.
From a geographic perspective, all regions saw year-on-year growth in shipments for the quarter, except for Western Europe, which posted a 3.1 percent drop for the period. In vendor revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011, the Asia-Pacific region, Eastern Europe, Japan and the Middle East/Africa all posted mid-high-single-digit to low-double-digit year-on-year growth, while Canada, Latin America, the United States and Western Europe all posted high-single-digit to low-double-digit declines.
IBM was the market leader in the worldwide server market based on revenue. The company ended the year with $4.7 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 for a total share of 33.7 percent. IBMs revenue was down 10.2 percent, compared with the same quarter in 2010. IBMs growth was fueled by its Power Systems product line.
Of the top five global vendors, Dellwith 7.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2011was the only vendor to experience an increase in worldwide server revenue.
In server shipments, HP remained the worldwide leader for the fourth quarter of 2011. HP accounted for 28.1 percent of global shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011, despite a shipment decline of 8.1 percent.
Of the top five vendors in server shipments worldwide, Lenovo and Dell were the only vendors to post shipment increases. Lenovos shipments grew 51 percent, and Dell increased 11.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010.
Fourth-quarter results centered on demand for x86 servers, which saw a 5 percent increase in unit shipments and a 2.6 percent gain in revenue for the quarter. In 2011, the server market was fueled primarily by x86 servers, which are the predominant platform used for large-scale data center build-outs, particularly in North America, while emerging regions like the Asia-Pacific and Latin America also added to the growth for the year.
2011 was a year that saw worldwide server growth driven by mega data centers and the explosion of client devices such as smartphones and tablets accessing Web content, Hewitt said in a statement. We have definitely seen a more pronounced segmentation between hyper-scale data centers and the traditional enterprise and midsized customer.
Hewitt added, Ongoing blade server and skinless server growth in the x86 segment also helped push 2011 results in spite of ongoing constraints in other segments, such as RISC/Itanium Unix platforms.
Blade servers posted a revenue increase of 14.5 percent and a shipment increase of 4.2 percent for the year. HP was the 2011 leader in blade servers, accounting for 44 percent of shipments, with IBM in second place at 21 percent. In the form factor, Cisco grew to an 8 percent shipment share to end the year in fourth place, just behind Dell, which had 9.3 percent.
The outlook for 2012 suggests that growth will continue, Hewitt said. These increases continue to be buffered by the use of x86 server virtualization to consolidate physical machines as they are replaced, but the introduction of new processors from Intel and AMD is likely to help fuel and initiate a new round of server replacement cycles.