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IBM Shines As Server Market Continues Recovery

The latest server shipment and revenue numbers (second quarter) are in from both Gartner and IDC, and while the market continues its recovery, some segments and vendors are doing much better than others. Both research companies report strong shipment and revenue growth, and with revenues more than doubling shipments, the average selling prices are growing, too.

Blade server revenues were up 26.9% on just a 6.2% increase in shipments, reports IDC. Almost 90% of all blade revenue is driven by x86-based blades, which now represent 21.2% of all x86 server revenue. HP continued to dominate this market with 51.9% revenue share, while IBM was a distant second with 19.1%, followed by Cisco and Dell with 10% and 8.2%, respectively.

The bottom line, says Gartner's Hewitt, is that the server market is still growing and remains heterogeneous. "While x86 is the main growth driver, Unix and mainframes are still around and substantial. There are separate segments, as well, like the 'classic' organizational data center versus the cloud/service provider; these segments have different characteristics and providers must realize and respond to that."

While he wouldn't cede the non-x86 market to IBM, at the expense of HP and Oracle, Hewitt did say IBM has continued to execute in these particular markets. "Bottom line: IBM is tough in flat-to-declining market situations."

As for Oracle's modest growth in the server market via its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, he doesn't think Oracle is as concerned about the hardware business in and of itself. "They want more control and support dollars from the total stack of their DBMS offerings. In my opinion, this was a very interesting acquisition, and Oracle will do its best to leverage more business from this broader and deeper stack control."

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Data Centers: Virtual vs. Physical (subscription required).

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