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Server vendors fight off doom and gloom in Q4

HP saves the clan

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The server market gave off a healthy glow during the fourth quarter and during all of 2007.

New figures from Gartner show server shipments rising 11 per cent during the fourth quarter, while revenue rose almost 3 per cent. The world's server vendors combined to ship 2.4m boxes during the fourth quarter and brought in $15.5bn for their efforts. For the full year, shipments rose 7 per cent, while revenue jumped 4 per cent. In all of 2007, the vendors moved more than 8.8m units and generated $54.8bn in revenue, according to Gartner.

The rise in fourth quarter sales proves particularly sweet for the server set. Wall Street analysts are busy looking for signs of a slowdown in hardware sales due to general economic uncertainty and trimmed budgets at the financial services companies. In addition, some analysts have speculated that the rise of virtualization will hurt server shipments.

Out of the top vendors, HP enjoyed the strongest fourth quarter in terms of shipments. It grew 12 per cent year-over-year, while Dell grew at 9 per cent, IBM grew at 7 per cent and Sun declined by 6 per cent. Fujitsu also enjoyed a banner quarter with 18 per cent growth.

Vendor Q4 Shipments Gain/Loss
1) HP 702,100 12%
2) Dell 499,687 8.8%
3)IBM 372,701 7.4%
4)Sun 84,778 -6.3%
5)Fujitsu/Siemens 75,882 17.9%

Almost all of the vendors saw their revenue rise during the fourth quarter. IBM stood out as the lone laggard, despite it talking an awful lot lately about how strong its server business is.

Vendor Revenue Gain/Loss
1) IBM $5.3bn -0.8%
2)HP $4.4bn 7.6%
3)Dell $1.6bn 4.1%
4)Sun $1.49bn 1.0%
5)Fujitsu/Siemens $616k 2.1%

For the full year, HP stood out with 17 per cent growth in shipments, leading the herd. Sun was the biggest loser, dropping 8.3 per cent. In revenue, Dell was the main gainer, showing sales growth of 13.2 per cent. HP notched 9 per cent growth as well, while the rest of the vendors were in the low single digits.

The RISC/Itanium set was pounded in terms of shipments during the fourth quarter. Sun's shipments fell 10 per cent, IBM's fell 17 per cent and Fujitsu's fell 10 per cent. HP actually moved more boxes, demonstrating 1 per cent shipment growth. Itanic's finest hour.

In terms of revenue, IBM had a nice fourth quarter run with 10 per cent growth, according to Gartner. Sun came in just above flat, and HP's revenue slowed by 1 per cent. Itanic's usual hour. Fujitsu's revenue growth tumbled 10 per cent.

Everyone moved a ton of x86 boxes and benefited from double-digit growth in terms of shipments. HP, Fujistu and Sun had double-digit revenue growth as well, while Dell came in at 4 per cent and IBM hit 7 per cent growth.

"Blade servers continue to be a high-growth segment with a revenue increase of 44.5 percent and a shipment increase of 19.9 percent for the year," Gartner said. "HP was the 2007 leader with blades at a 41.7 percent shipment share, with IBM being in second place at 30.9 percent. These two vendors continued to dominate this form factor and totaled almost 78 percent of the worldwide blade revenue share for 2007." ®

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