Gartner says the growth was triggered by replacement of old x86 machines that users had clung to during the worst of the downturn in 2009. Some units also went into the cloud.
Things will cool off (although probably not turn south entirely) during 2011 as the refresh cycle ends and users (finally) discover that, thanks to virtualization, they really don't need so many servers, Gartner predicted.
Fans of market share data will be interested to hear that HP and IBM ended up almost dead even with worldwide server market share in terms of revenue, with, respectively, 31.4 and 30.8 percent. Dell trailed at 14.7 percent, Oracle/Sun at 6.3, and Fujitsu at 4.4 percent.
In terms of units shipped, its high-end hardware dropped IBM to third place. HP led with 31.7 percent, Dell with 23.4 percent, IBM with 13.1 percent, Fujitsu with 3.3 percent, and Oracle/Sun at 1.8 percent.