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Linux servers enjoy good growth

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International Data Corporation’s (IDC) EMEA Server Tracker shows that in the first quarter of 2015 the EMEA server market continued the positive year-on-year growth seen throughout 2014, to report $3-billion in vendor revenue and 557 182 units shipped, for year-on-year growth of 6,3% and 3,5% respectively.

The EMEA market has now shown positive year-on-year unit growth (3,5%) for the fourth consecutive quarter, though this is slightly slower than the growth seen in vendor revenue (6,3%), as vendor ASPs continue to increase as the EMEA market moves toward richer configurations. Larger US-based European vendors in 1Q15 have also continued to feel the impact of the fluctuating euro.

Looking at the market in euros, EMEA reported very strong year-on-year revenue growth (29,2%) in 1Q15, but a weakening euro has had a negative impact on some vendors that have been forced to adopt new pricing structures in Europe as the euro continues to depreciate against the dollar.

The EMEA non-x86 market built on the positive signals seen in 4Q14 to report a good 1Q15, including the first positive year-on-year revenue growth in over 15 quarters (2%), reaching $526,2-million, as CISC and traditional RISC machines showed low-single-digit growth. 1Q15 saw strong yearly volume growth (up 102,4% year-on-year), driven mainly by the second shipment of ARM-based servers into the EMEA region; although this has a major impact on unit growth rates, these systems contribute less than 1% to the non-x86 server market.

“The macroeconomic fundamentals have remained strong and despite all major players having executed strong pricing adjustments to make up for the falling euro, server demand hasn’t slowed down. New projects in the cloud space have combined with a fairly broad infrastructure refresh on latest generation x86 chips especially in large global organisations,” says Giorgio Nebuloni, associate research director: European Infrastructure at IDC.

“A number of major vendors that experienced transition periods in the past year managed to recover from the temporary declines seen previously and are actively building out their channel partnerships across our region,” says Andreas Olah, senior research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC.

“At the same time, the rise in ODMs continues to put increasing pressure on established players, while competition is also heating up in niche areas with more vertical and workload specific models emerging. This trend drives the convergence of form factors and continuous advances in the hyper-converged space.”

Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC, comments: “Linux continues to make positive strides in Western Europe, and its reported 15,9% year-on-year growth in 1Q15 can be attributed to higher levels of attraction seen by this OS in cloud, HPC, and Big Data scenarios.”

“Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa [CEMA] server revenue recorded an annual decline of 2,4% to $677,84-million in the first quarter of 2015,” according to Jiri Helebrand, research manager at IDC CEMA. “While sales of non-x86 servers grew 8,5% year-over-year, driven by an installed base refresh, x86 server growth was negative at 4,4% due to a lack of large projects at the beginning of the year.”

The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) sub-region declined 14,9% year-over-year with revenue of $301,69-million, dragged down by weak server sales in Russia. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) sub-region grew 10,7% year-over-year in revenue to $376,15-million, supported by a large HPC deal in Saudi Arabia and strong server sales in Turkey.