IDC: Windows, Unix Server Revenue Even In First Quarter Of 2005

The 50/50 split indicates increased popularity for Windows in larger enterprise environments, said the market research firm. Blades, Linux servers, and low-end and midrange servers also fared well.

May 27, 2005

3 Min Read
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The worldwide server market continues in a strong period of growth, with revenue gains in the first quarter of 2005 split 50/50 between Windows and Unix servers, according to figures released Friday by market research firm IDC.

Overall, the worldwide market saw revenues increase 5.3 percent over the same quarter in 2004, with low-end or "volume" servers, Linux servers, and blades posting strong gains, according to the IDC report. Only high-end enterprise servers dropped off markedly, showing a 13.9 percent year-over-year decline that IDC says may result from more attractive price and performance levels in midrange servers that can handle workloads formerly reserved to the largest servers.

IDC's assessment is the second in a week that shows the overall server market in good shape, after a similar study by market researchers Gartner on Wednesday reached similar conclusions.

The even split in quarterly revenues shows the increasing strength of Windows-based servers in the midrange and high-end enterprise server market, where Unix-based servers have typically owned the revenue lead, noted Jean S. Bozman, IDC's vice president of enterprise computing. "Both platforms have a rich inventory of ISV applications, but Unix servers have traditionally gained more revenue from sales in the midrange enterprise and high-end enterprise server segments, based on their ability to support scalable workloads and high RAS levels for mission-critical-workloads," said Bozman. "The equal level of spending in both segments this quarter showed that Windows servers are gaining traction in the enterprise server space with a combination of deeper investment and richer configurations."

However, the increasing popularity of Windows-based enterprise machines isn't denting the prospects of Linux servers, the report found; those posted year-over-year revenue growth of 35.2% and a gain in unit shipments of 31.1, reflecting Linux's continued popularity as a server platform at all levels. Traditional Unix servers, meanwhile, experienced 2.8% revenue growth and and a 5.0% rise in unit shipments over the same quarter of 2004.Blades are another category that remains attractive to IT buyers, the report said. Blade server shipments rose by 68.2% year over year and accounted for $409 million in revenue in the first quarter, representing 3.4% of quarterly server market revenue.

The report shows a continuing preference for smaller servers among tech buyers, a trend IDC attributed to shops running more scalable workloads and employing consolidation and server virtualization strategies. Volume server revenue grew 15.6% year over year, while midrange enterprise servers grew 6.1% year over year, marking the second consecutive quarterly increase in that segment.

"Although scale-out computing continues to gain favor with customers for an increasing variety of workloads, increased spending for midrange enterprise systems indicates that other form factors continue to be attractive for large, monolithic applications and for consolidation workloads," said Matt Eastwood, IDC's program vice president of worldwide server research.

Among companies, IBM and Hewlett-Packard continue to vie for the top spot in the worldwide market; IBM holds a narrow lead in revenue share, while HP topped out in actual shipments with 30.4 percent of the market. Similarly, Dell and Sun ran neck-and-neck for the third spot in market share, with Dell posting 10.8 percent market share in revenues and Sun trailing with 9.9 percent.

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