The EMEA server market has registered its strongest growth quarter for four years, with IBM emerging as the big winner.
According to IDC's EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker, server revenue leapt by 10.8 per cent year on year in the first three months of 2011 – the first quarter of double-digit growth since Q1 2007.
Total unit shipments grew a more modest 2.6 per cent, reflecting the fact that high-end and mid-range sales outgrew the volume category.
IDC put the strong quarter down to the buoyant x86 market as sales from this category jumped 11.9 per cent to $2.3bn (£1.4bn). Non-x86 revenue rose 8.6 per cent to $1.1bn.
Beatriz Valle, senior research analyst for the Enterprise Server Group at IDC EMEA, said: "Recent technological developments on x86, both at the chip and systems levels – which are boosting the reliability, availability and security features of those environments – are set to accelerate migrations from Unix platforms."
Although HP hung onto the top spot for a thirteenth consecutive quarter, second-placed IBM had the biggest gain following a 33 per cent sales surge.
Big Blue now has 28.7 per cent of the EMEA market under its belt compared with HP's 41.2 per cent and IDC attributed its strong quarter to a successful transition to System z.
Third-placed Dell grew in line with the market while fourth-placed Oracle was the quarter's big loser as revenue tumbled 19.9 per cent year on year. Fifth-placed Fujitsu also saw revenue fall.
The blade server segment yet again significantly outpaced the market, logging 18 per cent growth, although IDC said it was a market in flux.
Giorgio Nebuloni, senior research analyst for the Enterprise Server Group at IDC EMEA, said: "A number of disruptive factors – including virtualisation, a new player in the arena in the form of Cisco, and the rise of new scale-out rack platforms – are resetting the role of blade servers.
"Their preponderance is declining in technical computing and HPC, but increasing to support traditional enterprise workloads and virtualised environments, where integrated, high-value hardware and software sales are becoming prevalent."
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