The server market still relies on the Intel x86, to a huge degree--while its usage dipped, the drop was only 1%, from 95% of the 569 respondents to the March "2010 State of Server Technology" report, to 94% in the most recent "State of Server Technology" survey. Its nearest competition comes from the AMD x86, which rose from 55% to 57%. The Intel Itanium held steady at 38%.
What's behind the lock that Intel and, to a lesser degree, AMD enjoy on the server market? Kurt Marko, author of the 2011 report, explained: "The performance gap has effectively closed for all but the highest-end devices, while x86 chips have made great RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability) improvements. Furthermore, today's hypervisors have brought mainframe-style application partitioning to commodity hardware, while the
manufacturing economies of scale that accrue by using essentially the same process technology and CPU architecture as that employed on mass-market PCs have left the ex-RISC CPUs uncompetitive on price."
Processor family, however, ranked just 3.9 on the scale of important processor architecture features. Faster overall performance (4.4) and memory bandwidth and performance (4.2) were of greater concern.