Feeds

Linux drives growth of server OS market

And that probably explains why everyone's buying fewer PC servers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The 1998 PC server market was driven not by hardware but by software, according to the latest data from market research company IDC. While the hardware side of the business slowed down considerably -- revenue growth hit just eight per cent, well down on 1997's 42 per cent and 1996's 50 per cent -- sales of server operating systems grew by 25.2 per cent, compared to 15.3 per cent in 1997. The two statistics may not be unrelated. Given the increased power of desktop PC hardware, it's not hard to imagine many server buyers running cheaper desktops as servers rather than selecting machines specially designed and configured for that role. That scenario is to some extent confirmed by the massive growth in shipments of Linux, which makes far lower demands on server hardware than the likes of Windows NT and NetWare. As IDC reported last December (see previous story), Linux shipments in 1998 grew by a massive 212.5 per cent to take 17.2 per cent of the market, up from 6.8 per cent in 1997. That figure only covers copies of Linux shipped through distributors like RedHat -- copies downloaded for free via the Web haven't been considered since, says IDC, there's no way of measuring them. How much higher that pushes Linux's marketshare is difficult to say, but the point is it will be some way above the IDC figure. Windows NT Server grew at 27.2 per cent, to take 36 per cent of the market. Novell NetWare grew 13.6 per cent (last year its share shrank some six per cent) and ended up with a market share of 24.1 per cent. The combined varieties of Unix (excluding Linux, though) took 17.4 per cent of the market, growing just 4.1 per cent in the process. In terms of revenue, Unix came out on top, followed by NT and NetWare, but given the relative pricing structures of each OS, this shouldn't surprise anyone. Linux brought in just $33 million worldwide, but that's still a healthy figure for the likes of RedHat, SuSE and co. On the hardware side, Compaq retained its market lead, though its share fell four per cent to 29 per cent, thanks to inventory problems and "distractions" from the Digital takeover, according to IDC. Hewlett-Packard also (just) retained its market position, hanging on to the number two slot with a 13 per cent share. Its revenue grew by 36 per cent, and impressive increase driven by improved product and marketing strategies. Still, it wasn't as impressive a performance as that demonstrated by Dell, which grew 76 per cent to match HP's 13 per cent market share. IBM was a single point behind, at 12 per cent. IDC predicts that the trend of diminishing growth experienced by the PC server market as a whole in 1998 will be reversed this year, thanks to a rebounding Japanese market, increased sales to small businesses and ISPs -- the market sectors both Dell and HP are targetting -- and the effect of Intel's server-oriented Xeon processor. The company also highlights what it calls "whitebox" servers, such as Corel's NetWinder and Cobalt's Qube, as drivers of growth. Given many such devices use Linux, they should boost the free OS' market share even further. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.