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8/26/2010
11:36 AM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
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Server Field Becoming An SMB Market

The latest figures indicate that the server market is rapidly turning into an SMB market. Long-term, that's good news for SMB users.

The latest figures indicate that the server market is rapidly turning into an SMB market. Long-term, that's good news for SMB users.With the second quarter server market figures tabulated and analyzed, it looks like SMBs rule the roost. Basically, there's been dramatic market growth among x86 servers-i.e, the PC-derived kind that SMBs buy. The high end of the market, meanwhile, continues to dry up.

IDC, the market research firm behind the figures, says that there was a 28.2 percent 2Q year-over-year increase in Windows Server shipments, as users not only bought new x86 machines, but found broader uses for x86 machines.

Linux servers (which also often involve x86 machines) showed even better growth, with vendor revenue up 30.1 percent. Linux servers now account for 16.8 percent of the server market, an increase of 2.5 points over the last year.

Demand for non-x86 machines fell 16 percent by revenue, cementing a trend that has been going on for more than a year. IDC thinks that buyer interest in heavy iron will revive after the vendors come out with a new generation of products. But it seems as likely to me that the users will continue to discover they don't need high-end machines, thanks to the power of today's inexpensive x86 machines.

Frankly, the whole situation reminds me of the mid-1980s, when enterprises started to dump their minicomputer systems wholesale, having discovered what cheap PCs could do for them.

The overall message is that the server market is becoming an SMB market. Hopefully, the vendors will wake up to this fact and start grooming products for the SMB market with appropriate ease-of-use features. Given the power of these machines, and knowing that some of that power could be used for management interfaces, there's no reason that virtualization, for instance, should more complicated than running Windows.

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