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There is no doubt that the current server market environment is the worse it has ever been, but a new report from IDC suggests that the worse may be over as the market posts sequential quarterly revenue growth for the first time since 2008.

The IDC EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker shows EMEA server revenue in 3Q09 reached $2.9 billion, a decline of 25.7% year on year, with nearly half a million units shipped, 24.6% less than in the same quarter of 2008. Sequentially, revenue and units experienced growth of 1.9% and 8.4% respectively.

While the market momentum for x86 servers continued unabated, with revenue performance better than non-x86 servers, x86 revenue was down 21.3% annually and up 16.7% sequentially. Shipments slumped, decreasing 49.5% in 3Q09 on 3Q08, confirming that non-x86 ASVs remain the highest in the market by a big margin. In terms of units, only 2.7% of all the servers shipped in EMEA were non-x86.

By server class, volume servers were the main market engine with $1.7 billion, or 59.1% of the total EMEA revenue whereas the midrange servers in the RISC segment suffered the sharpest decline being 34.6% down annually, with less than $400 million in sales.

"Overall, the EMEA server market environment remains challenging despite better than expected performance in the larger countries such as the U.K., Germany, Spain, and to a lesser extent Russia" said Nathaniel Martinez, director of IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions. "Platform migrations, consolidation projects and datacenter rejuvenation investments are bringing some activity to the market place".

"The blade segment has been less impacted by the current market woes, as progress in blade technologies accelerates innovation in both the x86 and the non-x86 business segments" said Giorgio Nebuloni, senior research analyst with IDC European Systems and Infrastructure Solutions. "Blades represented 16% of the x86 units, down from 16.3% in 2Q09, but thanks to their growing ASVs blade revenue was down only 6% year on year. IDC expects this product segment to see positive growth already in 4Q09, as new, integrated technology offerings relying on the blade platform see a good uptake. In this respect, non-x86 blades ($40.5 million in revenue in 3Q09, up 6% year on year) will become increasingly crucial, bringing Unix environments onto blade architectures".

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