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Robust growth for global server sales

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Factory revenue in the worldwide server market increased 17,2% year-over-year to $12,8-billion in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15), the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.
This quarter revenue grew in all form factors, including rack-optimised, blade, density-optimised, and tower. Worldwide server shipments totalled 2,3-million units in 1Q15, an increase of 8,4% when compared with the first quarter of 2014.

On a year-over-year basis, volume system revenue increased 13,6% and midrange system demand increased 7,2% in 1Q15 to $9,7-billion and $1.0-billion, respectively, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.

The volume segment was aided by a continued expansion of x86-based hyper-scale server infrastructures while midrange systems were helped by enterprise investment in scalable systems for virtualisation and consolidation.

Meanwhile, 1Q15 demand for high-end systems experienced a year-over-year revenue increase of 44,7% to $2,1-billion, bolstered by IBM’s s13 refresh.

“We continue to see a market profile that is increasingly driven by new compute deployment scenarios, often in hyperscale data centres. These customers tend to buy in large contracts, creating considerable variability within any given quarter, with this variability usually associated with density-optimised server products,” says Al Gillen, programme vice-president: servers and system software at IDC. “Shipments of density-optimised servers tend to land in a given region in a given quarter, and either in a different region, or not at all, in the subsequent quarter.

‚ÄúThis leads to a relatively unpredictable profile. This was true in the first quarter of 2015, where we saw density-optimised server shipment growth of 26,1% and revenue growth of 51,6%. This growth follows the previous quarter where density-optimised shipments and revenues were both in significant decline on a year-over-year basis. More traditional form factors typically have far more stable growth profiles.”

HP captured worldwide market share of 24,9% in 1Q15 on 10,6% year-over-year revenue growth to $3,2-billion. HP’s revenue growth was driven primarily by strong demand for its rack-optimised servers. Meanwhile, the company’s density-optimised business, while small overall, experienced triple-digit growth year-over-year.

Dell showed year-over-year growth of 12,6% and its $2,3-billion of revenue placed the company in the number 2 position with 18% market share this quarter. Dell also benefited from revenue growth in density-optimised and rack-optimised products. Dell’s density-optimised revenue was the largest of any of the top five vendors.

IBM retained its number three position following its x86 divestiture with $1,7-billion in revenue and 13,2% market share. IBM’s revenues are now associated with its POWER and mainframe product lines.

Lenovo and Cisco finished the quarter in a statistical tie for the number four position. Lenovo captured 7,5% worldwide market share with $966-million in 1Q15 revenues. Cisco was close behind with $890-million in revenue and 6,9% revenue market share.

Cisco’s year-over-year growth of 44,4% was well above average for the industry, and suggests the company is not done capturing incremental market share in the server market. Cisco’s blade business also continued to grow well, with Cisco producing more blade revenue than any other single company besides HP in 1Q15.