A recovery in global demand boosted second-quarter sales for computer servers by 11 percent to $10.9 billion, says a report released Wednesday by IDC.
Those numbers represent the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year sales growth and the fastest quarterly growth in the server market since 2003, according to the research firm's latest quarterly global server study. Server shipments also rose 23.8 percent from 2009's second quarter, a slight increase from the 23 percent gain seen in the first quarter but the fastest quarterly growth in more than five years.
Lower-end volume servers led the market with a 31.7 jump in sales, the third consecutive quarter of growth for this segment. Revenue for mid-range servers rose 15.6 percent, the first time this area has seen positive growth in the past nine quarters. But sales of high-end enterprise servers fell 27.3 percent, the seventh consecutive down quarter for this segment.
Among the major players, Hewlett-Packard was at the top of the heap with a 32.5 percent share of the market, a gain of almost 4 points, thanks to greater demand for its x86 ProLiant servers. In second place was IBM with 29.8 percent market share, a few points lower than last year's quarter. Sales were sluggish for Big Blue's Power Systems and System z servers as customers waited for both products to refresh themselves before buying. But demand for IBM's x86-based System x servers was solid.
No. 3 Dell watched its sales and market share both increase, thanks to strong demand from its corporate customers. Oracle was next, with a drop in sales and market share, while Fujitsu trailed the top five with a 3.4 percent share and an 8 percent gain in sales.
Sales of x86 servers continued their ascent, rising by 35.3 percent to $7 billion for the quarter. Each of the top five server vendors saw an increase in revenue for their x86 servers, combining to make the second quarter the fastest-growing quarter for x86 server sales in more than 10 years, IDC said.
"This is the fourth consecutive quarter of improving server market demand and the fastest quarterly server revenue growth IDC has reported in more than five years," Matt Eastwood, group vice president of Enterprise Platforms at IDC, said in a statement. "IDC continues to see widespread infrastructure refresh occurring across all geographies. While much of this refresh is occurring first in x86-based servers, IDC expects the recovery to extend to Unix and mainframe platforms in the second half of 2010. That said, it is clear that a wave of migration is also occurring as customers broaden their deployment of x86-based servers to a wider range of workloads."