Server market slows despite rising Sun, AMD

The local server market slowed to 5 percent growth in the second quarter with both Sun and AMD-based systems the only standouts, according to IDC's quarterly server tracker.

Chris Ward, IDC Asia Pacific servers and workstations market analyst, said this quarter's growth rate was a slow-down on last quarter's 20 percent, because most of the vendors are trying to sell more higher-value, two- and four-way systems.

Local enterprises spent $US130 million in Q2 which is normally a stronger quarter, Ward said.

The significant stand-out was Sun which was the only Unix server vendor to grow its revenue - by more than 30 percent.

"Sun went well in the Unix [Solaris on Sparc] server space and was the only Unix vendor to grow in revenue while IBM and HP did not," Ward said.

Ward said that since Sun launched its galaxy range of x86-64 systems its business has been the fastest growing in that space at 83 percent, but it is coming off a small base and is still languishing at number five in terms of x86 units shipped.

The other trend of note was that of AMD's almost doubling of its shipments from Q1 to Q2, mainly due to "large orders across sectors".

"In the x86 space, AMD surpassed 20 percent revenue share in the market and the rest is taken up by Intel," Ward said, adding Sun and HP were the only vendors to offer a range of AMD-based products.

"IBM had a moderate quarter and was pretty much flat, [but] has seen stronger growth in low-end Unix products, including OpenPower."

Both Dell and HP had a strong quarter in terms of units shipped, but their revenues were generally flat compared with same time last year.

Ward said the Unix market is declining with migrations of industry standard servers, but this trend has been slower than the previous year.

"The market is heading to dual-core which will proliferate, but we haven't seen massive deployments yet," he said. "Intel's Woodcrest is expected to be adopted quite quickly as it is coming to market at a comparable price.

"AMD is challenged by Woodcrest so there will be increased competition between the two and customers will benefit."

Sun Microsystems' Australia and New Zealand Solaris product manager, James Eagleton, said the company gained 7 percent in market share across all markets, which can be attributed to "innovation and sense of vibrancy around Solaris".

"We're seeing a lot of traction around Galaxy now and have launched the Opteron Rev-F capability," Eagleton said. "More blade offerings are coming before the end of the year so we're only part way along our journey into x86."

Eagleton said its Niagara-based Ultrasparc T1 systems are competing well against Intel's Itanium with more than 250 units shipped in the last quarter compared with 142 IA64 units, according to Gartner.

IDC's top five x86 server vendors (in units shipped) HP 40% Dell 30% IBM 16% Acer 3% Sun 2%

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