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Gartner: Server Shipments, Revenue Up in Third Quarter

By Thor Olavsrud (Send Email)
Posted November 29, 2011


Worldwide server shipments and revenue were up in the third quarter of 2011, research firm Gartner said Monday, noting that x86-based servers were thriving while mainframes declined. Regionally, Asia/Pacific and Eastern Europe showed the strongest growth while Western Europe lagged. 

"The third quarter of 2011 produced growth on a global level, but there was some significant variation in growth by region," said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner. "All regions showed growth in both shipments and vendor revenue except for Western Europe, which posted a 4.9 percent decline in revenue for the period. Asia/Pacific grew the most significantly in shipments, with a 23.9 percent increase. Easter Europe posted the highest vendor revenue growth at 27.4 percent for the period."

He added, "x86 servers forged ahead and grew 7.6 percent in units and 9.3 percent in revenue. Some regions, like Western Europe and the United States did not produce as much relative x86-based server growth because of comparatively stronger third quarter results in 2010. RISC/Itanium Worldwide Unix server shipments declined 6.8 percent, but vendor revenue increased 3.5 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The 'other' CPU category, which is primarily mainframes, showed a decline of 6.9 percent."

Among the top-five global vendors, IBM took the lead in revenue from troubled rival Hewlett-Packard with revenue of $3.85 billion, up 3.5 percent from the $3.72 billion in server revenue it reported in the third quarter of 2010. Gartner said most of IBM's revenue growth came on the back of its Power Systems line, with some contribution by System X.

Meanwhile, HP (NYSE:HPQ) saw its revenue shrink 3.6 percent, from $3.94 billion in the third quarter of 2010 to $3.80 billion in the third quarter of 2011. Dell kept its third-place slot, recording $1.90 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up 6.3 percent from a year ago. Oracle held on to fourth place with revenue of $764 million, although that represents zero percent growth. Fujitsu rounded out the top five with 3.6 percent revenue growth to come in at $603 million.

But that doesn't tell the whole story. On the market share based on revenue front, IBM (NYSE:IBM), HP and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) all slipped. IBM's share dropped from 30.2 percent to 29.7 percent; HP dropped from 32 percent to 29.3 percent; and Oracle dropped from 6.2 percent to 5.9 percent. Dell's share increased slightly, from 14.5 percent to 14.7 percent, while Fujitsu's share remained unchanged at 4.7 percent. Smaller competitors, which Gartner labels 'other vendors,' picked up the slack, collectively increasing their share from 12.4 percent in third-quarter 2010 to 15.8 percent in third-quarter 2011.

Despite its troubles, Gartner said HP remained the worldwide leader in server shipments in the third quarter of 2011, although it declined 3.1 percent to come in at 29.2 percent market share. Gartner said the decline was primarily driven by drops in HP's ProLiant brand.

Blade servers increased 3.3 percent in shipments year-over-year and 7.6 percent in revenue over the same period, Gartner said. Rack-optimized servers rose 8.2 percent in shipments and 6.3 percent in revenue year-over-year.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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