Feeds

Server sales cratered in Q4, says IDC

Blades the only bright spot

Boost IT visibility and business value

Someone has turned the volume knob on the x64 server market from 11 down to 9. And that someone is the economic meltdown.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, when the meltdown was flaring up, server spending dropped off dramatically. The analysts at IDC who track the server space reckon that server sales contracted "sharply" in Q4, falling 14 per cent to $13.5bn, with shipments dropping by 12 per cent.

Those declines might not be as severe as the ones we have all seen in our retirement funds in recent months, but for the tectonically moving server space, where change comes in small increments, this is akin to an earthquake like we haven't seen since the dot-com bust. And it looks like it can - and likely will - get worse.

"The server market experienced its sharpest decline since the middle of the dot-com slowdown nearly seven years ago," confirmed said Matthew Eastwood, group vice president of IDC's enterprise platforms group, which puts together the server stats each quarter.

"All server vendors, geographies, and technology segments were impacted significantly as the global recession gained momentum and market conditions weakened as the quarter progressed. It now appears the slowdown will worsen before any improvement is seen in late 2009 or early 2010.

"In the near term, IT customers will increasingly look for IT optimization projects with strong ROI potential and extend virtualization, consolidation, and migration programs in order to lower capital and operational costs while improving efficiencies."

The economic meltdown was still heating up in the third quarter, as we previously reported, with server makers pulling in $12.6bn in sales, down 5.2 per cent and representing the largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2002. Shipments in Q3 fell by 2.8 per cent, the worst decline since the final quarter of 2006. Well, until the fourth quarter of 2008 came along.

The so-called volume server segment, where machines cost less than $25,000, saw the biggest revenue decline in Q4, with sales off 16.8 per cent. Enterprise-class machines, which cost $250,000 or more, had a less dramatic decline, only dropping 7.5 per cent compared to the final quarter of 2007. The midrange segment, which is for machines that cost more than $25,000 but less than $250,000, had a 14.5 per cent revenue decline.

It is noteworthy that this is the first time since 2002 that all three segments have declined. As high-end and midrange machines took it on the chin during the last recession early this decade, the volume segment - dominated by x86 machines - picked up the slack as companies cut costs and transitioned whatever workloads they could from proprietary and Unix boxes to x86 machines running Windows and sometimes Linux. This time around, Windows took the big hit.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: How Big?

More from The Register

next story
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.