Enterprises join hyperscale cloud providers to juice server, storage sales in Q3

IDC stats indicate that enterprises are starting to buy servers and storage systems amid new processor launches from Intel and AMD.

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Server sales surged in the third quarter as enterprises started buying systems to join hyperscale cloud players such as Amazon and Google, which have been propping up the market.

According to IDC, third quarter global server revenue hit $17 billion, up 19.9 percent from a year ago. The launches of Intel's Purley and AMD's EPYC launches stoked demand.

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What's more important is that the enterprise is buying servers again. Server sales had been driven largely by hyperscale cloud providers and the bulk of the share went to white-box manufacturers.

Worldwide server shipments were up 11.1 percent in the third quarter to 2.67 million units.

On the hyperscale front, IDC said Amazon was the biggest server buyer, but Google and Facebook picked up server deployments after a pause. Enterprises also started to grow and Dell benefited the most with server growth of 37.9 percent. Dell has been tightly integrating its storage and server teams.

By vendor, high-end server sales were fueled by IBM's z14 launch. IDC said high-end system sales will continue to decline except for big platform launches like IBM's mainframe. Midrange system revenue was up 26.9 percent in the third quarter with volume servers growing at a 19.3 percent clip.

HPE and its joint venture with H3C has paid off in China. HPE/H3C saw strong enterprise growth and has pivoted away from selling to hyperscalers.

Here's a look at the standings. As has been the case in recent years, white-box manufacturers are grabbing the most sales.


According to IDC, x86 server sales were $15.4 billion in the third quarter, up 20.4 percent from a year ago. Non-x86 servers sales were $1.5 billion, up 15.1 percent from the third quarter a year ago.

The server sales may also be pulling along storage systems. IDC also reported that global enterprise storage system sales were $11.8 billion in the third quarter, up 14 percent from a year ago. Total capacity shipments were up 22.4 percent in the third quarter to 72.5 exabytes.

Like the server market, white-box manufacturers that sell direct to hypyerscalers saw the most growth. Flash, software defined and converged infrastructure sold well.

Here's a look at total storage systems as well as external system sales for the third quarter.