by Jacqueline Emigh
In a bright spot within the still beleaguered computer industry, sales of hardware servers keep rising substantially, led by a big leap in demand for less costly Windows and Linux x86 PC servers, say the latest numbers released by analyst group IDC.
From April to June of this year, overall worldwide server revenues increased 11% from the second quarter of 2009 to $10.9 billion, while shipments stepped up by 23.8%.
Yet sales revenues from x86-based servers — a product category popular among SMBs and larger businesses alike — soared by 36.6% for Microsoft Windows hardware servers, and by 30% for Linux servers.
To the contrary, sales of midrange servers inched up by only 6.9%, while revenues from enterprise servers took a sharp fall of 23.6%.
“This is the fourth consecutive quarter of improving server market demand and the fastest quarterly server revenue growth IDC has reported in more than five years,” contended Matt Eastwood, IDC’s group vice president of Enterprise Platforms, in a statement.
Windows and Linux PC servers soar, while non-x86 systems flounder
On the whole, Windows servers represented 46.5% of quarterly factory revenues, while Linux servers accounted for 16.8%. Unix servers made up 26.3% of sales, but revenues from servers in this category dropped 7.2% in the quarter.
Meanwhile, for the fifth quarter in a row, sales of x86-based servers outperformed those of “non-x86 servers, including servers based on RISC, EPIC, and CISC processors,” according to IDC.
Demand strong for HP ProLiant and IBM System X boxes
On an overall basis, HP took the number 1 spot for revenues shares in the worldwide server market, followed by IBM, Dell, Oracle, and Fujitsu, in that order.
IDC’s numbers showed strong demand for x86-based HP ProLiant and IBM System X servers. On the other hand, IBM “experienced weakness in its Power Systems and System z servers as customers waited for the completion of a product refresh cycle for both product sets,” IDC said in a report.
‘Wave of migration’ to new PC servers
While IDC’s Eastwood suggested that some of the growth in Windows and Linux servers is due to a “widespread infrastructure refresh,” he also indicated that businesses are moving more of their computing tasks to new PC servers.
“While much of this refresh is occurring first in x86-based servers, IDC expects the recovery to extend to Unix and mainframe platforms in the second half of 2010,” the IDC analyst noted.
“That said, it is clear that a wave of migration is also occurring as customers broaden their deployment of x86-based systems to a wider range of workloads.”