HP, Dell, IBM Lead Second Quarter Server Sales: Gartner

Worldwide shipments and sales of servers surged in the second quarter as businesses still see a need to invest in IT. HP, Dell and IBM led the way, according to Gartner.

The IT infrastructure needs for businesses of all sizes helped propel the global server market during the second quarter of 2011, with stalwarts IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard leading the way. During the quarter, server shipments increased 8 percent year-over-year, while revenue surged 19 percent, according Gartner.

The Aug. 26 Gartner report reflected similar findings from IDC, which also found the worldwide server market growing in the second quarter. Overall, Gartner concluded that revenue from all servers - x86, RISC/Itanium, mainframe - topped $13 billion with vendors shipping more than two million units worldwide.

While those numbers are good and show that businesses want to invest in their infrastructure, the results are still below pre-recession levels.

"The second quarter produced solid growth on a yearly basis, as the recovery that started in 2010 continues to eke out slow improvements," Gartner analyst Jeffrey Hewitt wrote in the report. "All regions showed yearly growth in both shipments and vendor revenue, although in both measures the market is again below the pre-downturn levels we saw in the corresponding quarter of 2008."

In terms of revenue, HP led the way. For the quarter, the company saw server revenues of about $3.9 billion, which translates into a 30 percent market share. Most of the growth came from HP's line of x86-based ProLiant systems.

IBM came in a close second with $3.8 billion in revenues. Dell, Oracle - which now owns Sun Microsystems - and Fujitsu rounded out the top five.

HP also led all other vendors in server shipments during the quarter. During those three months, HP shipped 719,590 systems throughout the world. Dell finished second with 511,507 shipments and IBM shipped 273,718 systems. Fujitsu and Lenovo rounded out the top five during the quarter.

Of the different types of servers, shipments of x86 servers increased 8.4 percent and revenue increased 17.7 percent. In terms of form factors, x86 blade shipments increased 8.2 percent, while rack-mounted system shipments increased 8.9 percent.

Shipments of Unix servers - RISC/Itanium - actually declined about 8.5 percent, although revenues increased by about 4 percent. Gartner also noted that mainframes grew 48.8 percent during the quarter.