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EMEA server sales slip in Q2

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The latest EMEA Server Tracker from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that in the second quarter of 2015 the EMEA server market saw an end to the continued growth of the last four quarters, with vendor revenue at $3,1-billion and 525 059 units shipped — a year-on-year decline of 2,5% and 4,5% respectively.
For the first half of 2015, vendor revenue was $6,2-billion and 1-million server units were shipped, showing marginal growth on the first half of 2014 at 2,3% and 0,7% respectively.
The EMEA server market in 2Q15 continued to show strength on the revenue side in the face of a challenging economic situation. This stability has been a balancing act, with price inelasticity toward richer server configurations and increased average selling prices (ASPs) implemented by large x86 server vendors in local currency (euro or other) as a means of maintaining dollar profitability.
IDC predicts that these ASP increases could start to affect value propositions and demand toward the end of 2015 if vendors can’t justify the increased prices with additional functionality and performance. This balancing act has had a bigger impact on the EMEA market in euros terms, as the second quarter of 2015 reported very strong year-on-year revenue growth of 21% in euros.
The EMEA non-x86 market still shows greater price stability, reporting fewer adjustments, but this has not reduced pressure on vendors to prove the price performance of these systems.
The second quarter of 2015 saw the non-x86 market report $569,4-million, for an 8,4% year-on-year vendor revenue decline — a less negative growth rate than in previous quarters. This was driven by stronger CISC mainframe spending, with 9,2% year-on-year vendor revenue growth. RISC and EPIC systems continued to be negative in EMEA in the second quarter, at -20,1% and -28% year-on-year respectively.
“The noticeable growth in mainframes can be attributed to two key factors,” says Giorgio Nebuloni, associate research director: European Infrastructure at IDC. “The first is the cyclical refresh of installed base with the latest IBM System z13 systems, which were made available at the beginning of 2015. The second is the use of Linux as a bridge to expand mainframe use in existing accounts in adjacent areas, with either consolidation initiatives or big data projects. Due to the cyclical pace of refreshes, we remain cautious on non-x86 system spending for the second half of 2015.”
“On the x86 side, several high-performance computing (HPC) projects mainly by universities and meteorology institutes contributed to larger volumes that helped avoid a greater overall decline in shipments,” says Andreas Olah, senior research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC. “ODMs are continuing to gain wider traction with double-digit growth rates, driven primarily by large service providers but also increasingly by inroads into other sectors such as telcos. While blades remain popular for higher-end machines, standard x86 rack servers are the only form factor that managed to grow year on year in unit terms this quarter in Western Europe.”
Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC, comments: “The flat performance of the Western European market in dollar terms in 2Q15 — a decline of 0,3% year-on-year — was mainly driven by the strengthening of the dollar against European currencies. Some of the larger countries, such as France, saw increased levels of competition between bigger vendors in the second quarter, driven mainly by a greater focus on the service provider market.”
IDC also sees that, although Windows-based servers still constitute 51,4% of Western European revenue, Linux systems continue to ramp up.
Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) server revenue recorded a year-over-year decline of 10,1% to $654,46-million in the second quarter of 2015.
“The Central and Eastern Europe [CEE] subregion declined 22.8% year over year,” says Jiri Helebrand, research manager at IDC CEMA. “Impacted by ongoing weakness in the Russian market, revenue was $272,02-million, which was in line with initial projections. The Czech Republic was the top performer in 2Q15, benefitting from HPC project delivery.
“The Middle East and Africa [MEA] subregion grew 1,9% year over year in revenue to $382,44-million, performing better than forecast. While the business activity was traditionally lower during the second quarter in many Middle Eastern countries, a number of sizable deals in South Africa and Turkey helped to increase server sales.”