Although virtualisation is helping to drive IT investment in servers, a weakened dollar/euro exchange rate helped to boost server revenues by 3.6pc to US$5.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2007, says IDC.
According to IDC’s EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker, server shipments rose 7.3pc to more than 750,000 in the fourth quarter over the same period in 2006 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA.)
For the whole of 2007, market growth was robust with factory revenue rising 5.6pc annually to reach US$17.8bn and shipments growing 8.9pc to over 2.6 million.
According to IDC, virtualisation along with systems management and automation, is driving IT investment in mid-sized companies as well as large enterprises.
“The diversity of workloads running on customer sites is driving demand in all top three operating systems, with Windows significantly increasing its market share to 35.7pc of the total revenue in Q4, three percentage points ahead of Unix,” said Nathaniel Martinez, director, European enterprise servers at IDC and lead analyst for IDC’s virtualisation practice in EMEA.
“The full impact of Windows Server 2008 will only become apparent by the end of this year, and the battle for the virtualisation market, with new management tools by the leading vendors, will spur competition in this area,” Martinez added.
Multicore, virtualisation and blades are all contributing to the strong uptake of volume servers, which are gaining favour with SME and enterprise customers alike, a market trend translated into a factory revenue share of 49.6pc of the total in EMEA in Q4 2007 and a growth of 6.5pc annually.
“Both revenue and unit growth were driven by an increasing demand for more highly configured x86 servers used for virtualisation and consolidation projects in a wider range of industries and customer segments,” Beatriz Valle, research analyst of European enterprise servers at IDC, explained.
“Sales of non-x86 servers experienced a slight recovery quarter on quarter due to favourable seasonal factors and corporate renewal projects but dropped 2.4pc annually. Meanwhile, x86 servers increased their presence in the high-end server space,” she said.
X86 servers saw their revenue market share grow from 45.9pc in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 49pc in 2007. Servers running on EPIC increased revenue market share by 1 percentage point to 8.5pc, while RISC and CISC lost market footprint.
RISC continues to be the strongest segment after the x86 space, with 30.4pc of the total market.
Sales of Windows and Linux grew 12.8pc and 8pc respectively. While Unix performance remained strong, growing revenue by 3.1pc annually, it is Windows which is now the clear market share leader with 35.7pc of the total EMEA revenue.
Blades growth continued unabated with sales going up 55pc annually and approaching the half-billion dollar mark. Pedestal servers are the single most important segment with 50.2pc of the total revenue in the fourth quarter, despite negative annual revenue growth.
Though IBM managed to retain the top spot in the calendar quarter, HP emerged as the top vendor in 2007 with strong growth of 12.3pc, managing to eclipse IBM for the first time on an annual basis since the acquisition of Compaq.
HP’s growth in the fourth quarter was strongest in the ProLiant and Integrity areas, with Integrity revenue, including its NonStop products, now accounting for 24.6pc of the total vendor revenue.
IBM benefited from a robust uptake of both its Unix System p and x86 System x families in the last quarter of the year.
Fujitsu Siemens Computers enjoyed very positive Primergy performance in southern Europe and finished the full year with a 1.8pc revenue growth.
Sun Microsystems saw revenue grow strongly in the SPARC Enterprise area, and Dell had strong growth across all geographies, particularly in France and Spain.
By John Kennedy