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HP tore through both the low- and high-ends of the server market during the third quarter, according to the latest figures from research house Gartner.

Gartner had the worldwide server market growing by 8.7 per cent in terms of shipments to 2.2m units and increasing revenue 2.6 per cent to $13.4bn. The analyst house attributed the healthy sales figures to strong demand for beefy RISC/Itanium servers. This marks the first time in many moons that a major analyst firm has pointed to Big Iron instead of x86 systems as the main driver of growth in a quarter.

HP shot well past the industry averages in terms of both shipments and revenue, as the vendor appeared to take a large amount of business from main rival IBM.

Looking at shipments alone, HP remained the top worldwide server seller (29 per cent market share) and enjoyed year-over-year growth of 20 per cent. Dell again took the second spot in shipments (21.8 per cent) and grew sales by 5.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, IBM (14.4 per cent) suffered from a 4 per cent dip in shipments, while Sun (3.6 per cent) shed 4.5 per cent.

Fujitsu/Fujitsu Siemens (3.4 per cent) had an HP-like quarter, expanding unit shipment growth by 17.4 per cent.

In terms of total revenue, IBM remains king at $4.03bn, although its sales trailed off by 8.1 per cent. HP (13.4 per cent), Dell (12.6 per cent), Sun (11.4 per cent) and Fujitsu (3.4 per cent) all saw their sales shoot up.

Looking at the RISC/Itanium market, Sun and IBM both suffered from around 12 per cent declines in shipments, while HP boosted high-end server shipments by 30 per cent. In terms of revenue, IBM grew sales by 6 per cent, Sun by 7 per cent and HP by 14 per cent.

The transition to Itanium seems to be going better for HP as Sun sorts out its partnership with Fujitsu and IBM customers await more Power6 chips.

In terms of x86 server sales, all of the major vendors demonstrated decent growth. HP boosted x86 revenue by 14.5 per cent and remained the market leader, while Dell hiked sales 12.6 per cent and IBM boosted sales by 6 per cent. Fujitsu took the fourth spot in sales on the back of 10 per cent growth, while Sun made it into the top five boosted by 40 per cent growth.

Gartner reckons that blade server shipments increased by 14 per cent, and the slim servers now account for 10 per cent of all server shipments. HP is still the top blade vendor and increased shipment 91 per cent year-over-year. Meanwhile, Sun, which had disappeared from the blade market, is now the fourth largest blade vendor. ®

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