The x86 server market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) witnessed a marginal year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to IDC. 
Referencing its latest EMEA Quarterly Server Tracker, the research firm announced that the MEA x86 server market increase 3,5% in volume year-on-year in Q4 2012.
The Saudi Arabian market was the key performer of the quarter across the GCC, registering year-on-year volume growth of 69,5%.
“Along with several sizeable deals in different ministries, Saudi Arabia’s healthy quarter was primarily due to a significant deal in the education sector,” says Zeeshan Gaya, research manager for servers and systems at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
The UAE market, on the other hand, posted more subdued growth of 6.1% year-on-year in shipments, with key projects taking place in the government and oil and gas sectors.
In contrast, the other GCC countries declined 9,5% in volume, collectively, in the same period, although revenue increased marginally by 4,1% year-on-year. Kuwait was the only country that registered volume growth among these countries, with an increase of 12,8%.
“Kuwait’s telecom and finance sectors contributed to the country’s strong growth in Q4 2012,” says Gaya.
Server shipments in North African market increased in volume by 9,6% year-on-year in Q4 2012, driven by government initiatives in the Moroccan market, while the Algerian and Tunisian server markets declined further.
In South Africa, 8,1% growth in server shipments predominantly stemmed from demand in the government, telecommunications, and finance verticals. Server uptake in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) was sluggish in Q4 2012 due to cyclical purchasing trends.
“The telcos are investing in infrastructure to expand their data centres in readiness for cloud service delivery, as demand for cloud services is picking up,” notes Gaya.
Shipments of all form factors increased year-on-year in the MEA during Q4 2012. Towers accounted for the highest share of growth, at 18%, followed by rack optimised and blades servers, at 15,4% and 14,2%, respectively. Following this trend, shipments of density-optimised servers were up by 9,7% year-on-year across the region.
Eight-socket servers took a hit in the fourth quarter of the year, recording a year-on-year volume decline of 28,8%. One-socket and four-socket server shipments grew by an impressive 28,8% and 20,1% respectively. Two-socket servers remain the dominant capability, comprising more than half of the MEA market with 65,9% volume share.