EMEA server revenue up 11%

IDC reports that the EMEA region server market has seen its strongest growth in four years.

According to IDC quarterly server tracker report, server revenue grew by 10.8% to USD3.5 billion in the first quarter of this year. It was the first time in four years that the market had topped double-digit growth.

Unit shipments grew by 2.6%, after nearly 580 000 units were shipped. The strong revenue performance indicated good traction of high-end, and particularly, midrange servers priced between USD25 000 and USD249 000. High-end servers enjoyed healthy revenue growth of 13.2%, with midrange servers growing faster, up 15.3% year on year. Revenue from volume systems grew by a relatively modest 9.2% year on year.

x86 servers were the main market engine again, with 66.6% of total revenue. x86 system sales reached USD2.3 billion, against just USD1.1 billion for non-x86 boxes. Industry standard servers have been the dominant technology in the EMEA server market since 1Q07, making this the 17th consecutive quarter in which this technology surpassed sales of enterprise systems running on CISC RISC EPIC processors. Volume server revenue reached 65.8% share of the total market. 98.6% of high-end revenue came from non-x86 systems, with 50.2% coming from CISC-based mainframes, 29.4% from RISC Unix servers, and 19.1% from EPIC systems running on Itanium processors.

The server market landscape is undergoing a transformation driven by increased demand for datacenter optimization to support virtualization, automation and cloud strategies. Cloud projects are set to profoundly change European server environments, as more customer sites adopt cloud-based infrastructures in 2011, said Nathaniel Martinez, research director in the Enterprise Server Group for IDC EMEA.

Despite the healthy revenue performance of the mainframe, up 46.8% year on year, there was a significant decrease when compared with the 62.2% annual growth rate seen in the previous quarter, said Beatriz Valle, senior research analyst in the Enterprise Server Group for IDC EMEA. The RISC Unix market continued to weaken. Recent technological developments on x86, both at the chip and systems levels, which are boosting the reliability, availability and security features of those environments, are set to accelerate migrations from Unix platforms.

Giorgio Nebuloni, senior research analyst in the Enterprise Server Group for IDC EMEA, said: Once more, blade servers represented an area of increased spending (+18% YoY, versus +11% YoY market average) for EMEA customers. Non-x86 blade platforms delivered another strong quarter, with revenue doubling year on year to $93 million (13% of blade spending), while IDC observed slower growth in x86 blade platforms (1% annual unit growth, 10% annual revenue growth), which performed roughly on average with x86 spending.

He added: A number of disruptive factors — including virtualization, a new player in the arena in the form of Cisco, and the rise of new scale-out rack platforms — are resetting the role of blade servers. Their preponderance is declining in technical computing and HPC, but increasing to support traditional enterprise workloads and virtualized environments, where integrated, high-value hardware and software sales are becoming prevalent.

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