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March 3, 2015

HP rules global server market in Q4 of 2014

IBM posts Q4 decline due to sale of x86 server business to Lenovo.

By Ellie Burns

According to the latest figures released by Gartner, Q4 in 2014 saw worldwide server shipments increase 4.8 per cent year over year, with revenue increasing 2.2 per cent from Q4 of 2013.

Server revenue was up 0.8 per cent in 2014, with worldwide server shipments increasing 2.2 percent. Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, put this strong growth down to several factors.

He said: "On a worldwide basis, hyperscale data centre deployments as well as service provider installations drove the x86-based server market upward.

"Organisations had less unit growth impact because of the ongoing presence of physical server consolidation through x86-server virtualisation. This overall market growth developed despite declines in both mainframe and Unix platforms."

The Middle East and Africa regions saw the most growth in terms of shipments (10.7 per cent), with Asia/Pacific (9.1 per cent) and North America (7.6 per cent) coming in second and third respectively.

Although recently posting disappointing financial results, HP led the worldwide server market based on revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014. Although only seeing growth of only 1.5 per cent year over year, the company ended the year with $3.9 billion in revenue for a total share of 27.9 per cent worldwide.

IBM experienced a decline of 50.6 per cent, while Lenovo experienced strong growth of 743.4 per cent. The significant changes in IBM’s and Lenovo’s growth rates are due to the completion of the sale of IBM’s x86 server business to Lenovo in the fourth quarter.

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HP once again led in terms of server shipments, despite posting a decline of 11 per cent. HP’s revenue increase compared with its shipment decline suggests a shift to sales of servers with richer configurations and relatively higher average selling prices to continue to support server consolidation through virtualisation, in addition to a tough comparison when the company had large hyperscale deals a year ago.

In the EMEA region HP extended its revenue share lead with 10 per cent growth, reflecting the strong demand for the company’s modular servers, replacement demand due to the latest ninth-generation platforms, and competitive growth.

Dell held the second spot in EMEA, recording a 19 per cent revenue growth, with IBM having to settle for third place thanks to its divestment of x86 servers to Lenovo.

Third-place IBM declined 57 per cent as it suffered from a tough quarter compared with a year ago when System X revenue contributed to its total.

"Without including x86 revenue, IBM’s revenue would have declined by 14 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014," said Mr Rasit.

"The weakness in IBM’s top-line result is also due to System Z investment slowing in anticipation of the newest-generation mainframe products.

"After recent weak results, Power Systems’ revenue grew marginally by 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 in EMEA. Power Systems represents IBM’s growth strategy with key investments in PowerLinux and OpenPOWER."

Gartner speculates that modest growth will continue in the server space in 2015.

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