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2/21/2006
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Study: Server Shipments Grow By Nearly 9%; Dell Stays On Top

The x86 market in North America had the strongest growth of all server segments, a new Gartner report says. In contrast, shipments in the RISC/Itanium market fell by 6.8% during the same period.

The North American server market grew 8.8 percent in 2005 unit shipments and again was dominated by Dell, according to numbers research firm Gartner released on Tuesday afternoon.

The x86 market in North America had the strongest growth of all server segments, showing an increase of about 10 percent in shipments and revenue from 2004 to 2005, according to Jeffrey Hewitt, a research director at Gartner. In contrast, the RISC/Itanium market fell 6.8 percent in shipments and 1.8 percent in revenue during the same period.

Hewitt said the x86 market is solid but could be experiencing some erosion from the ongoing virtualization trend in which IT shops are consolidating workloads of several servers onto one.

Meanwhile, Hewitt suggested that several factors are contributing to the fall in the RISC/Itanium space, including replacements at the low end of the market with Linux-based systems and typical refresh cycles. But he said the higher-end of the RISC/Itanium spectrum was seeing the most constriction. "The higher I go up in terms of processors the more constrained it is," he said, nothing that 16-way servers and above are selling particularly poorly.

Itanium systems took a hit in 2005, with North American shipments falling by 6.8 percent and revenue falling by 1.8 percent. Though Hewlett-Packard saw growth in its Itanium sales, Dell and IBM both posted significant declines, said Hewitt. Dell has since stopped selling Itanium-based systems.

"Itanium has its place," said Hewitt, but is mostly being driven by HP's Unix offering.

As in 2004, Dell led the market in overall server share by unit shipments. Dell had a 28.4 percent share of the market with 16.2 percent growth at year-end 2005. Hewlett-Packard had 22.9 percent share with a 2.48 percent growth; IBM had a 12.9 percent share with an 8.8 percent growth; and Sun had a 4.7 percent share with a decline of 1.4 percent.

Cut the pie by revenue share, and IBM comes out on top with 32.5 percent share and growth of 6.2 percent. HP takes second place with 26.8 revenue share and growth of 8.2 percent. Dell logged a 14.7 percent share with growth of 9 percent and Sun showed a 10.5 percent share with growth falling 7.6 percent for the year.

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