IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

Summary: The researchers at International Data Corp. (IDC) released their latest worldwide server market share data this week. As was true in the last quarter of 2009, Windows servers are far and away the leader in share as measured by of percentage of revenue, the firm found.

SHARE:

The researchers at International Data Corp. (IDC) released their latest worldwide server market share data this week. As was true in the last quarter of 2009,  Windows servers are far and away the leader in share as measured by of percentage of revenue, the firm found.

While Windows' share was up slightly, to 42.1 percent of server OS share by revenue, Linux was also up, reaching 17 percent in Q4 2010, according to IDC. Unix's share was down, hitting 25.6 percent share, IDC said.

The fast-rising star in the server OS space was IBM's z/OS mainframe operating system, IDC reported. A year ago, IDC didn't break out z/OS's share by revenue, but in the last quarter of 2010, that number was 11.3 percent.

Here are the IDC breakouts:

Server OS share (by percentage of revenue) for Q4 2010

z/OS 11.3 Linux 17.0 Windows 42.1 Unix 25.6

Server OS share (by percentage of revenue)for Q4 2009

z/OS (not available) Linux 14.7 Windows 41.6 Unix 29.9

IDC noted that factory revenues for the fourth quarter of 2010 were up 15.3 percent year over year, to $15.0 billion. Shipments for Q4 2010 hit 2.1 million units. IDC said Q4 2010 marked the highest quarterly revenue in the server market in three years.

Topics: CXO, Banking, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

57 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Is Linux still there?

    As I said before, while Linux people buzzing Linux share increase, they should realized: "Linux growth + Unix growth = negative". this is always true. Question is: when Unix is gone in the planet, where will Linux go?
    jk_10
    • That is revenue percentage, and does not represent server OS market share.

      There are more and more sites using Linux supported by their own internal groups and pay nothing. Just look at the number of servers at Google alone.
      DonnieBoy
      • Sure LSE just switched it on

        ... and look what happened: Flat out crash from week one.
        LBiege
      • That's not True Donnieboy. Companies that do serious business

        @DonnieBoy
        which is any company will be paying for support, so those numbers are accurate. Maybe a garage based porn site will do it alone, but not the companies that matter.

        Linux usage in the chart is accurate I have to tell you.
        Will Farrell
      • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

        @DonnieBoy<br><br>The IDC figures refer to server revenue, not to OS revenue. If a firm plan to run Linux on a server, they've still got the buy the hardware, and they bloody well aren't going to buy it with Windows Server or Unix installed. They're going to buy it either with Linux installed or with nothing installed. (Note that the figures only add up to 96 per cent, leaving 4 per cent for servers shipped with other OSes or no OS).
        WilErz
      • WilErz, are you sure about the numbers?

        "They're going to buy it either with Linux installed or with nothing installed. (Note that the figures only add up to 96 per cent, leaving 4 per cent for servers shipped with other OSes or no OS)."

        Far greater the 4% of x86 / x64 servers ship with no OS. I don't believe your definition is correct.

        The figures appear to count only those with an OS installed (4% being other).
        Richard Flude
      • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

        @ Richard Flude<br><br>According to Channel Register, IDC include servers shipped with no operating system. However, they have a method of guesstimating which operating systems are installed. The method isn't specified, but an obvious one would be to survey a random sample of customers provided by the vendors, asking which OSes they installed on their recently purchased servers.<br><br>So, I was wrong. The IDC figures do indeed include servers that ship without an OS, as I thought, but most of these servers aren't assigned to the 'other' category. Rather, they're assigned to categories according to an internal IDC estimation procedure.<br><br>The key points stand that: (a) the figures refer to server hardware revenue, (b) Linux requires hardware, (c) servers that ship with no OS installed are included in the figures. So, unless IDC are conspiring against Linux (I'm sure some zealots will claim this), there's no reason at all to believe that the IDC figures understate Linux's share of server shipment revenue (or unit shipments when unit figures are available, as in Mary Jo Foley's article last June, which I refer to below).
        WilErz
    • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

      @jk_10
      What does Linux have to do with Unix?
      daikon
      • Obivious...

        @daikon Linux is there only because of existence of Unix (don't think I have to explain). Imagine Unix is gone, zero, will Linux still have a share? where will it go? up? down?
        jk_10
      • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

        jk_10,
        Linux will always have a share.
        daikon
      • jk_10: The market share of Workloads handled by Linux / Unix is going up.

        It is just the revenue share that is going down, because of the ease of internal groups supporting supporting Linux without having to pay for the OS. This only shows how expensive Windows servers are.
        DonnieBoy
    • I can tell you where it went in our shop

      @jk_10

      My major project last year was standing up a 1000-core HPC cluster running Linux, done 1.5 months ahead of schedule, total software cost $485 (some monitoring app that our architect was in love with). On the Windows side we decommissioned 8 Windows systems, or about 20 percent of our remaining M$ server boxes.
      terry flores
    • She was careful to repeat &quot;in terms of revenue&quot;

      @jk_10
      Since a paid for server is typically 1/3 the price of the Windows equivalent, and of course the massive base of "free" servers installed via local IT, in terms of marketshare, Windows server is not growing nearly as fast.

      Your statement about Linux is eating Unix is very 2004ish. Linux was a natural replacement for Unix at their EOL, but with the ease of implementing Linux servers today, it is pretty easy to replace Windows now once the proprietary shackles are dealt with.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

        @TripleII

        In terms of volume, Windows Server has an even higher market share. Unix is typically used on very expensive hardware, and as users of this hardware migrate to Linux, this adds a lot to the Linux revenue share but very little to the Linux unit share.
        WilErz
    • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

      @ Richard Flude

      I refer you to Mary Jo Foley's article from last June, 'IDC: Windows Server still rules the server roost'. In it, she explains that the IDC percentages don't add up to 100 because IDC include an unspecified 'other' category. She also includes unit shipments (for 2009Q4 and 2010Q1), which show that Windows is even more dominant in unit terms than in revenue terms.
      WilErz
      • Right. Figure doesn't include servers shipped with no OS

        There's a significant proportion of servers (much greater than 4%) where OS is installed onsite. Including windows volume license and site license customers.
        Richard Flude
      • RE: IDC: Dollarwise, Windows still leads the server market

        @Richard Flude

        According to whom?
        WilErz
    • Revenue costs of a Free system

      usage would be a more useful method of comparing a free system (linux) against one that charges (Windows). Obviously the one that always charges has higher revenue than one that doesn't.

      A classic case of misinformation through useless stats.
      Regards from Tom :)
      Tom6
  • The article may be true, but ...

    The license "revenue" from our 28 Windows servers was more than the "revenue" from our 840 Linux servers, since the license cost for the 840 servers was zero. If the intent of the article was to point out the higher cost for Windows servers, I guess that's true.
    terry flores
    • Yes, you hit the nail on the head. The percentage of workloads handled by

      Windows is very low, but, for the small niches where Windows server is used, they are paying through the nose.
      DonnieBoy