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Hyperscale data centres drive server spend

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The EMEA server market continued to show moderate growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, reporting $3,9-billion in vendor revenue and 625 000 units shipped, for year-on-year growth of 5% and -1,6% respectively.

According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) EMEA Server Tracker, for the full year 2015, vendor revenue was $13,2-billion and 2,6-million server units were shipped, with growth on 2014 of 3% and 0,1% respectively.

This trend can be attributed to two main drivers — the weakening dollar that forced average selling prices (ASPs) in local currency higher over the course of 2015, and the continued movement towards richer configurations for compute-intensive workloads.

The prior influencer is prominent when looking at the market in euros; in 4Q15 EMEA reported a slightly improved quarter, with a YoY revenue decline of 7,9%, which was a major improvement when comparing a full year view of 2015 against 2014, when EMEA saw a decrease in vendor revenue of 13,7%.

2015 also saw EMEA report flat unit shipments, a slowdown that can be attributed to the rise in ASPs by US-based vendors earlier this year, as a means of stabilising dollar revenues in a challenging economic situation. IDC believes that if US-based vendors continue to increase local currency prices, the market might start to see more interest in Asian vendors including ODMs.

The EMEA non-x86 market showed positive growth in 4Q15 when compared to 3Q15, as revenue was up 17,9%, reaching $780 -million and driven strongly by CISC machines, which showed double-digit growth (57,6%).

“This growth was pushed by longer refresh cycles, some dating back to 2014, and although this has driven the non-x86 market in 4Q15, larger vendors that play in this market are still seeing a notable decline in annual refresh cycles, a trend that IDC believes will continue into the foreseeable future,” says Giorgio Nebuloni, EMEA associate research director: European Infrastructure at IDC.

“The x86 market in EMEA has started to see some normalisation since the currency impact started to ease, leading to moderate 2,2% growth YoY in vendor revenue, reaching a new record of $3,1-billion,” says Andreas Olah, senior research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC. “A large share of this revenue growth has been generated by the construction of new hyperscale data centres by several global cloud service providers.

“In addition, the growing hunger for more powerful, mission-critical machines with large memory pools has fuelled further ASP increases, especially on the blade side.”

Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst: European Infrastructure at IDC, comments: “The strong performance of the x86 server market in Western European this quarter (6% YoY) found a lot of impetus from the larger systems product segment, which saw YoY vendor revenue growth of 39,1%, driven strongly by an increasing adoption of big data and IoT, which have a thirst for high-availability solutions.

“Besides the larger systems market, Western Europe also saw the x86 density optimized segment break the $300-million vendor revenue mark, for YoY growth of 30,2%. A huge achievement as more and more of the enterprise market finds its way to the cloud, driving the buildout of the larger data centres,” he adds.

“Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) server revenue continued to decline in the last quarter of 2015,” says Jiri Helebrand, research manager at IDC CEMA. “Indeed, revenue fell by 5,5% to $891,83-million on the back of weaker demand for x86 servers. In contrast, non-x86 sales recorded 10,8% year-over-year growth driven by IBM z Systems refresh cycle.

“The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) subregion declined 4.6% year-over-year, with revenue of $475,59-million. The Russian market continued to underperform, while Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania observed double-digit growth thanks to improving economic conditions and delivery of HPC deals.

“The Middle East and Africa (MEA) subregion declined 6,5% year-over-year to $416,24-million as IT projects were scaled backed due to the unfavourable economic situation impacted by falling oil prices. Despite the negative business sentiment in the region, Turkey recorded double-digit growth driven by demand from telecommunications and finance verticals.”