RISC and Itanium Server Makers Do Well in Europe, Says IDC
September 29, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sales and shipments of servers in the European, African, and Middle Eastern region of the world grew faster than the global average in the second quarter of the year, according to statistics released by IDC, pushed upward by sales in Central and Eastern Europe and providing economic sanctuary for U.S.-based server makers. Server revenues in Q2 rose by 8.7 billion to $4.5 billion, and shipments rose by 12.4 percent to nearly 700,000 units.
According to IDC, x64 machinery accounted for 95.5 percent of total server shipments in the quarter throughout the EMEA region, a statistic that has been pretty steady for years on a global basis and in most regions. Revenue growth certainly is not steady across EMEA, with Central and Eastern Europe seeing 17.8 percent revenue growth, the Middle East and Africa seeing 16.1 percent growth, and the much larger but more slowly growing Western European region seeing only 6.8 percent growth.
“The imbalance between unit and revenue growth indicates the X86 segment is showing the strain of commoditization and downward pressures on prices,” explained Nathaniel Martinez, director of European enterprise servers at IDC in a statement accompanying the figures. “The upswing in RISC/Itanium Unix servers and sales of CISC reflects a seasonal refresh cycle as corporate customers replace older legacy systems, and is expected to moderate. Technologies such as virtualization, blade, and multicore continued to thrive.”
As we previously reported, IDC said that worldwide server sales came to $13.9 billion, up 6.4 percent, hitting the highest revenue level in a second quarter since 2000, the peak of the dot-com boom. Global server shipments rose by 11.1 percent in Q2, driven substantially by 2 million X64 servers that went out the door in the quarter–a rise of 12.4 percent.
Tower servers–which are called pedestals in Europe–accounted for just under half the $4.4 billion in sales in EMEA in the quarter, up 9 percent, while blade server sales rose by 42.2 percent to just over $400 million. Growth for high-end servers was strong, with banks, telcos, and manufacturers picking up lots of iron and with Power6 and Sparc machines doing particularly well, according to IDC. Volume servers (which cost under $25,000) accounted for $2.2 billion in sales, with no growth, but high-end server revenues rose by 22.7 percent in the quarter and midrange boxes had a sales bump of 12.9 percent.
Windows servers had a 10.3 percent growth in the quarter in EMEA, but Linux server sales actually fell by 1.8 percent, the first time since early 2002 when Linux showed a decline. Unix server sales rose by 8 percent in the quarter; the company did not break out proprietary platforms, but we all know IBM had a pretty good Q2 for mainframes., which helped drive overall CISC server sales up 42.2 percent in the quarter. (Fujitsu’s BS2000 mainframes did well in Europe, too.) IDC said that IBM sold $180 million worth of Power Systems machines in the quarter, running AIX, i, or Linux.
When the vendor labels are counted, Hewlett-Packard managed to edge out Big Blue, with $1.46 billion in sales compared to $1.44 billion. However, IBM grew 18.2 percent in the quarter, compared to 4.2 percent growth from HP; that growth at IBM, again, came largely from a big jump in mainframe sales as the quad-core z10 mainframes ramped up. Sun Microsystems came in third in EMEA, helped hugely by sales of the Sparc Enterprise M line of rebadged Fujitsu iron, with $577 million in sales, up 1.9 percent. Dell had 17.2 percent revenue growth in the quarter, to $425 million, and Fujitsu-Siemens came in fifth in the rankings, with $279 million in sales, up 3.1 percent. Other vendors in the server space only had a collective $296 million in sales in Q2 in the EMEA region, down slightly from a year ago.