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2015 server sales hit all-time record of 9.7m machines

Shipments up. Revenue up. Cloud up. Midrange up. Non-x86 down

The global server industry is in rude health, clocking up a record 9.7 million shipments in 2015 and hauling US$55.1 billion through the door along the way.

That's eight per cent more revenue and 4.9 per cent more shipments than recorded in 2014, according to analyst firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.

Cloud is driving servers' surge, the firm says, as cloud operators continue to build out their bulky bit barns and making the volume servers business a mover. Business is helping mid-range servers to grow, thanks to “enterprise investment in scalable systems for virtualization and consolidation.” Only at the high end do things look a little glum, and even then only because buyers knew that IBM had new Z-series machines ready to roll in early 2016 which made for a sluggish end to 2015.

Speaking of IBM, IDC's Q4 2015 data is the first quarter in which it says Big Blue's and Lenovo's growth rates are not impacted by the former selling its x86 business to the latter. Here's how Q4 panned out:

Top 5 Corporate Family, Worldwide Server Systems Factory Revenue, Market Share, and Growth, Fourth Quarter of 2014 (Revenues are in Millions)

Vendor

4Q15 Revenue

4Q15 Market Share

4Q14 Revenue

4Q14 Market Share

4Q15/4Q14 Revenue Growth

1. HPE

$3,811.9

24.9%

$3,894.7

26.8%

-2.1%

2. Dell

$2,558.7

16.7%

$2,430.8

16.7%

5.3%

3. IBM

$2,162.4

14.1%

$1,986.4

13.7%

8.9%

4. Lenovo

$1,136.2

7.4%

$1,096.2

7.5%

3.7%

5. Cisco

$927.9

6.1%

$769.5

5.3%

20.6%

ODM Direct

$1,242.0

8.1%

$1,192.1

8.2%

4.2%

Others

$3,466.4

22.6%

$3,174.9

21.8%

9.2%

Total

$15,305

100%

$14,545

100%

5.2%

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, March 2016



How can IBM still be in third spot even though it's exited the x86 business? IDC says it “experienced strong growth for POWER Systems and double-digit growth for its z System mainframes in the quarter.” Across the year, however, “Non-x86 servers experienced a revenue decline of -5.4 per cent year over year to $2.9 billion, representing 18.6 year of quarterly server revenue.”

IBM leads field with 75.8 per cent revenue share of non-x86 servers and even managed “year-over-year revenue increase of 8.9% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2014.”

The news is less good for ARM servers, which IDC says experienced falling sales compared to the same time in 2014. HPE Moonshot dominates the ARM server segment.

Here's how the whole year played out in server-land:

Top 5 Corporate Family, Worldwide Server Systems Factory Revenue, Market Share, and Growth, Calendar Year 2015 (Revenues are in Millions)

Vendor

2015 Revenue

2015 Market Share

2014 Revenue

2014 Market Share

2015/2014 Revenue Growth

1. HPE

$14,117

25.6%

$13,344

26.2%

5.8%

2. Dell

$9,662

17.5%

$8,975

17.6%

7.6%

2. IBM

$7,142

13.0%

$9,366

18.4%

-23.8%

4. Lenovo

$4,105

7.5%

$1,524

3.0%

169.4%

5. Cisco

$3,571

6.5%

$2,899

5.7%

23.2%

ODM Direct

$4,366

7.9%

$3,955

7.8%

10.4%

Others

$12,100

22.0%

$10,917

21.4%

26.3%

Total

$55,063

100%

$50,980

100%

8.0%

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, March 2016



Buyers in the Asia/Pacific are the planet's most active, with Chinese shoppers alone spending 15.6 per cent more than in 2014. EMEA and US buyers clocked up just 5.0 per cent and 7.9 per cent climbs respectively.

IDC says growth in Asia saw China's top four server-makers - Inspur, Huawei, Lenovo, and Sugon – “grew their combined revenues by 19.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis” thanks to strong domestic growth. Lenovo clocked up that result even as it ingested IBM's x86 business. The Register hears that the company has a big launch planned before mid-year, so is probably positioning for even more growth in 2016. ®

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