Linux bucks lackluster server market sales

The open-source operating system gains consecutive double-digit growth during the first quarter this year, IDC finds.
Written by Aaron Tan, Contributor

Linux servers posted their fifteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, amid lackluster sales in the overall server market during the first quarter this year, says IDC.

According to the research company's latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker report, Linux servers posted a year-over-year revenue growth of 17 percent, with unit shipments up 14.4 percent.

This growth is significant as revenue in the worldwide server market declined 1.9 percent to US$11.9 billion in the first quarter this year, compared to the same quarter last year.

"After three years of consistent growth, the server market began to show signs of deceleration in the first quarter," said Matt Eastwood, IDC's program vice president of worldwide server research IDC, in a statement.

"Although customers continued to invest in new infrastructure in the quarter, IT spending patterns are evolving, and these shifts are clearly having an impact on the server market," he added.

According to Eastwood, IT managers in the data center are working to align their company's IT strategy with business needs. They are also condensing their IT infrastructure, delivering new IT services and enhancing existing service levels while holding the line with respect to both IT budgets and staffing levels, he said.

Microsoft Windows servers also continued to see strong growth as revenues in this segment rose 5.9 percent while unit shipments grew 12.9 percent year-on-year. With quarterly revenues totaling US$4.4 billion, Windows servers represented the largest single segment of the server market.

Unix servers experienced a 7.1 percent decline in factory revenue year-over-year, while unit shipments declined 8.7 percent.

Itanium-based systems grew 41.8 percent year-over-year, generating US$640 million in revenue for the quarter. This segment now represents 11.2 percent of all non-x86 server revenue, IDC said.

According to the report, HP and IBM tied for number one position with 28.1 percent and 27.9 percent share, respectively, in terms of server revenues.

Dell maintained third place with 11.1 percent market share in the first quarter this year. Although the company's year-over-year revenue growth slowed to 3.6 percent for the quarter, the company still gained market share.

Sun experienced a 5.8 percent year-over-year revenue growth, and increased its overall market share to 10.8 percent, from 10 percent in the same quarter last year.

In terms of unit shipments, HP maintained the top position worldwide with 29.9 percent of total server units, growing its shipment 7.8 percent year-over-year. Dell maintained the number two spot in terms of worldwide server shipments with 24 percent share.

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