The overall Middle East and Africa (MEA) x86 server market suffered a 5,9% year-on-year decline in unit terms during the first quarter of 2013 but a 3% increase in value to reach $321,94-million.

This according to results published by IDC, the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.
Saudi Arabia continues to be the bright spot among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, registering year-on-year unit growth of 31%.

“Deals within the education and government sector were the major contributors to the high uptake,” says Zeeshan Gaya, research manager for servers and systems at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “But in sharp contrast, the UAE market experienced a severe decline of 21,5% over the same period, with no sizeable projects taking place in the country.”

Overall, the GCC suffered a drop of 10,8% in volume during Q1 2013 but expanded 4,4% in terms of revenue. Bahrain and Qatar registered double-digit drops in x86 shipments of 28,4% and 17,6%, respectively.
Key initiatives in the banking sector accelerated Oman’s growth by 12,6% in volume and 58,2% in revenue, year-on-year. Kuwait remained mostly flat for the quarter, expanding 1,4% in volume on the back of a few deals in the education and government sectors.

The downward trend continued in the North African market in Q1 2013, with shipments to the region declining 25,1 % year-on-year.

“In Morocco, there was shrinkage in the number of deals taking place in both the public and private sectors during the quarter, with several key projects either resized with smaller budgets or simply postponed,” says Gaya.
“The government and the oil and gas sector remain the highest spending verticals in Algeria and Tunisia, although the first quarter of the year was very slow in both countries, with very few projects taking place.”

As previously forecast, the South African x86 server market experienced a year-on-year unit decline of 11,7%. IDC observed that the main drivers for the country market in Q1 2013 were the business services, government, finance, and retail sectors.

“Telecom operators are continuing to invest in server infrastructure to expand their data centres as they seek to diversify their service offerings, largely around readiness for cloud service delivery as the demand for cloud services start unfolding,” says Gaya.
“The small and medium-sized business (SMB) space continues to show demand for servers as such organizations are late deployers of server virtualisation and IT infrastructure renewals. The public sector was also relatively active in Q1 2013 as national governments headed towards their budget deadlines and allocated additional spending to clear up any remaining funds.”

The overall negative trend was observed uniformly across all form factors in the MEA region. Towers took the biggest hit, suffering a 15,5% decline in shipments year-on-year, followed by rack and density-optimised servers, which slumped 8,7% and 4,2%, respectively.

Contrary to this trend, shipments of blade servers grew 10,9% across the MEA region, with the biggest annual growth seen in the UAE, Pakistan, Oman, and Nigeria.

Eight-socket servers took a hit in the first quarter of the year, recording a year-on-year volume decline of 41,8%. One-socket and two–socket server shipments shrunk by 9,1 % and 4,9%, respectively. Two-socket servers remain the dominant capability, comprising more than half the MEA market with 70,3% volume share.