Gartner: x86 servers gain as Unix shipments fall

As adoption of x86 servers increased globally, Unix-based server shipments witnessed a slowdown during the third quarter, according to a Gartner Inc. survey released on Monday.

Unit shipments of Unix servers dropped for the top Unix vendors -- Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM -- though revenue increased, Gartner said in the survey. Hewlett-Packard Co. saw both its unit shipments and its revenue for Unix servers rise, the survey said.

Overall, Unix server shipments fell 6.4% to 103,267 units. Sun led the pack, shipping 52,038 units, but that was 12% fewer than a year earlier. IBM shipped 27,904 units to come in second place, representing a 12.9% drop in volume. It was followed by HP, which saw a 29.4% increase in shipments. Apple Inc., in fourth place, shipped 4,098 units, a 33.4% increase. Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens was in fifth place.

Growing at a clip of 9.5%, shipments of x86 servers increased globally to 2.1 million units. HP was the top vendor, with a 30% market share, shipping 631,399 servers, which was a 20% year-over-year increase. Dell Inc. shipped 484,650 servers, a 5.4% increase. IBM, in third place, saw server shipments drop 3.5%. Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens and NEC Corp. followed in the fourth and fifth spots.

Though Unix server shipments fell, revenue grew 8%, with IBM and Sun both seeing gains in this measure, Gartner analyst Lillian Alvarado wrote in an e-mail message.

IBM recorded revenue of $1.29 billion, a 5.7% year-over-year increase. The midrange System p servers performed better than the high-end System z servers, which suffered a strong revenue decline from last year. "IBM introduced new products in its System z line last year, and this was the reason for the large increase then," Alvarado wrote.

Sun Unix server revenue was $1.24 billion, a 7.3% increase. Sun saw especially good revenue growth from its high-end servers, according to Alvarado.

Overall, 2.2 million servers shipped worldwide during the third quarter, an 8.7% increase. Global server growth was driven by demand for increased capacity and growth in emerging markets, said Errol Rasit, an analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement.

HP, which retained its spot as the top server vendor with a 29.3% market share, saw a 20.2% increase in shipments, followed by Dell, which saw a 5.4% increase. IBM was in third place, with shipments dropping 3.9%, followed by Sun and Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens.

Server revenue worldwide was $13.4 billion, a 2.6% increase year over year. IBM earned $4 billion, a drop of 8.1% from the previous year, and had market share of 30.1%. HP, in second place with $3.8 billion in server revenue, closed in on the top spot. The company's server revenue grew 13.9%, and it achieved a 28.1% market share. Dell was in third place, collecting $1.6 billion, a 12.6% increase. Sun was in fourth place, followed by Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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