Gartner: IBM, HP Tops in Server Revenue, Shipments

The continued rise of x86 systems contributed to overall growth in the server market in 2005, but shipments in the high-end RISC and Itanium space fell, according to the research group.

IBM held onto the top position in server revenue in 2005, though the companys revenues grew at less than the industry average, according to numbers released Tuesday by analyst group Gartner.

In servers shipped, Hewlett-Packard remained on top, although its growth, too, was smaller than the industry average. In both revenue and shipments, Dell was the big climber, according to Gartner, in Stamford, Conn.

Overall, server shipments jumped 12.7 percent in 2005, with revenue growing 4.5 percent.

Gartner analysts pointed to the continued rise of x86 systems. "These servers continue to be the choice in increasing numbers to meet the needs of more Web users accessing more file types from more access points than ever," analyst Jeffrey Hewitt said in a statement.

Conversely, the shipments in the high-end RISC and Itanium space fell 5.3 percent, and revenue in the space was relatively flat at .5 percent. Gartner attributed much of that to businesses replacing lower-end RISC/Itanium systems with Linux servers and overall declines at the higher end of the market. Overall mainframe revenue dropped 9.5 percent in 2005, with IBM—the mainframe market leader—seeing mainframe revenue dropping 7.6 percent.

That decline came the same year that IBM introduced the latest generation of its mainframe systems, the z9, which cost the company $1.2 billion to develop over three years. The new system offers twice the performance and memory as the previous z990, and it also includes greater virtualization and security capabilities.

In addition, a month after the z9 rollout, IBM launched new programs aimed at enticing students and programmers to the mainframe platform, and increased the management and monitoring capabilities.

IBM last month unveiled the z9 Integrated Information Processor, aimed at helping enterprises more efficiently run back-end workloads such as business intelligence, CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning).

However, 2005 also saw the launch of dual-core processors from both Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, a move designed to increase the performance of servers running the chips without relying solely on cranking up the frequency and thus making them more attractive for use with higher-end applications. Both companies plan to expand the use of dual-core technology in their processors this year, along with such features as on-chip virtualization and security.

In revenue, IBM garnered 32.1 percent market share with more than $16.6 billion, followed by HP at 28.2 percent and Dell at 10.5 percent. Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu rounded out the top five. Overall, the worldwide server market grew to almost $51.7 billion in 2005.

In server shipments, HP was tops with more than 2 million shipped, good for 27.7 percent of the market. Dell was second at 22.5 percent, followed by IBM with 15.9 percent. Sun and Fujitsu again came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Overall, vendors shipped more than 7.5 million servers last year.


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