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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.

Gartner reports server shipments grew 8% (2.3 million units) year-on-year, while revenue more than doubled to 19.5% ($13.2 billion). IDC says shipments were up 8.5% (2.1 million units), but reported the same revenue ($13.2 billion) on a lower revenue growth figure, 17.9%.

Neither shipments nor revenues have returned to to the pre-downturn levels of 2008, says Gartner research VP Jeff Hewitt, but they continue the growth that started last year. x86 servers were up 8.4% in units for the quarter and 17.7% in revenue. RISC/Itanium Unix servers declined 8.5% in shipments but showed a revenue increase of 4.3%, while the "other" CPU category, which is primarily mainframes, turned in a stellar performance, surging 48.8%.

From a revenue perspective, the top five vendors all grew, with HP holding down the top spot (up 11.4% to $3.94 billion), but growing less than half as fast as IBM (up 23.9% to $3.79 billion), says Gartner. Dell came in third ($1.88 billion), followed by Oracle ($936 million) and Fujitsu ($836 million), with the five accounting for 86.1% of the market. Fujitsu showed the biggest growth, up 136.7%, while Oracle was up just 0.8%.

IDC's numbers were similar, but they put IBM in the top spot ($4 billion) over second-place HP ($3.9 billion), and showed similar growth for Fujitsu but better results for Oracle, growing 4.2%. Big Blue was helped by the Unix market, where it grew its revenues 14% in a market that grew only 1.5%, and its System z mainframe revenue that soared 61.1%.

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