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Server Shipments Grow By Nearly 9 percent; Dell Stays On Top

The North American server market grew 8.8 percent in 2005 unit shipments and again was dominated by Dell, according to numbers research firm Gartner released on Tuesday afternoon.

The x86 market in North America had the strongest growth of all server segments, showing an increase of about 10 percent in shipments and revenue from 2004 to 2005, according to Jeffrey Hewitt, a research director at Gartner. In contrast, the RISC/Itanium market fell 6.8 percent in shipments and 1.8 percent in revenue during the same period.

Hewitt said the x86 market is solid but could be experiencing some erosion from the ongoing virtualization trend in which IT shops are consolidating workloads of several servers onto one.

Meanwhile, Hewitt suggested that several factors are contributing to the fall in the RISC/Itanium space, including replacements at the low end of the market with Linux-based systems and typical refresh cycles. But he said the higher-end of the RISC/Itanium spectrum was seeing the most constriction. "The higher I go up in terms of processors the more constrained it is," he said, nothing that 16-way servers and above are selling particularly poorly.

Itanium systems took a hit in 2005, with North American shipments falling by 6.8 percent and revenue falling by 1.8 percent. Though Hewlett-Packard saw growth in its Itanium sales, Dell and IBM both posted significant declines, said Hewitt. Dell has since stopped selling Itanium-based systems.

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