The server market is back on track, recording its fifth consecutive quarter of positive turnover growth, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.
The second quarter of 2004 saw strong year-on-year unit shipment growth of 22.7 per cent, which reflected an upsurge of growth in the volume server segment.
At the opposite end of the market, high-end enterprise servers showed a 6.1 per cent rise in turnover compared with Q2 2003, thanks to the growing need for server consolidation and mission-critical processing. The mid-range enterprise server market showed a year-on-year dip of 11.7 per cent.
The x86 server market continued to show positive growth, with global factory turnover up 13 per cent to almost $5bn - higher than Risc-based server revenue for the second quarter in a row.
Unit shipments were up by 22.4 per cent to more than 1.3 million, with Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) outpacing the overall growth rate at 29.4 and 24.2 per cent respectively.
According to IDC, IBM held the lead with a 32.5 per cent market share, followed by HP with 27.1 per cent. Sun was third with 12.5 per cent, and Dell took fourth place with 9.1 per cent.
John Humphreys, research manager for global enterprise server solutions at IDC, said: "Dual-processor servers and blade servers drove the strong growth of x86 servers. Blade servers, which are being adopted for server consolidation, are on course to exceed $1bn in turnover in 2004."
Servers based on 64bit processors also did well, with volumes - especially of AMD's Opteron-based units - continuing to grow rapidly.
Humphreys said: "Server units based on Opteron processors grew by 81.1 per cent sequentially in the quarter, and the introduction of Intel's x86-64-based chips in August bolsters our expectation that the market will see volume deployments of 64bit-capable processing in 2005."
Q2's positive server market outlook was echoed by Gartner, which found turnover rose 7.7 per cent on Q2 2003 to $11.5bn.
"Overall, each region showed positive year-on-year growth in terms of turnover," said Mike McLaughlin, principal analyst at Gartner. "We also saw increased activity in the x86-64 market, as well as continued strong sales in the low-end server market."
According to Gartner, IBM maintained the number-one slot in turnover, with a market share of 30.7 per cent. Overall unit shipments for Q2 2004 surpassed 1.6 million units, a 24.5 per cent increase on the same period last year, and HP held on to the number-one slot shipping 463,489 units.
Dell experienced the strongest growth rate among top-tier vendors for Q2, following on from a very strong Q1, and its turnover jumped by 20.1 per cent.
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