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IDC: Q4 2010 Server Sales Highest in 3 Years

According to IDC on Monday, the global server market yielded very positive results in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Worldwide server shipments for Q4 of 2010 increased by 6.1 percent over Q4 2009, according to the IDC report. The 2.1 million increase in units sold and $15.0 billion in revenue made it the highest period of growth in the overall market in three years. The server industry grew in every quarter during 2010, accounting for a $48.1 billion revenue increase over 2009's total numbers.

The global market for x86 servers grew 21.4 percent in Q4 to $9.0 billion, representing "the highest quarterly revenue ever reported for x86 servers," according to IDC. However, the report also cited growth from non-x86 platforms.

"Non-x86 platforms contributed significantly to the server market recovery in the fourth quarter and it remains clear that a variety of heterogeneous server platforms remain an integral part of a comprehensive enterprise IT strategy today," said IDC Enterprise Platform Group Vice President Matt Eastwood. "At the same time, datacenters are being optimized to support virtualization, automation, convergence, workload-optimized systems, and cloud strategies in both large and small organizations around the globe."

As for individual server vendor results, IBM once again claims the top spot, with revenue growth of 69.1 percent year-over-year for Q4. This result is due largely to higher-than-expected sales of its System z servers running z/OS. According to IDC, the $1.7 billion revenue jump is the largest increase it has reported for IBM.

Windows servers also experienced a positive bump in demand, thanks to high x86 server market refreshes, leading to an increase of 42.1 percent of quarterly revenue. The overall x86 sector shipped over 2 million servers for Q4 of 2010.

"Within the x86 market, high-end servers showed higher growth rates for both server shipments and revenue than low-end servers," said IDC senior analyst Reuben Miller. "With the introduction of higher performing processors with multiple cores, customers are finding more benefit in purchasing multi-socket server units than single socket systems."

Oracle's Sun brand was unable to follow the overall upward market trend; it experienced a Q4 decrease of 14.4 percent, compared with 2009's Q4 result. Fujitsu also saw its revenue drop by 9.4 percent in Q4.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.