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.