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Hyperscale Data Centers Boost the IT Server Market

The ongoing shift to cloud services continues to impact the IT sector. Vendor revenue within the IT computer server market increased 5.1 percent year-over-year to $13.4 billion in the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15) -- that's the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth.

During this quarter, revenue grew in rack optimized, blade, and density-optimized servers, while towers declined, according to the latest worldwide market study by International Data Corporation (IDC ).

Worldwide server shipments totaled 2.49 million units in 3Q15, an increase of 4.5 percent when compared with the third quarter of 2014. On a year-over-year basis, volume system revenue increased by 7.0 percent and high-end system demand increased by 1.2 percent in 3Q15 to $10.8 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.

The volume segment was aided by a continued cloud provider expansion of x86-based hyperscale data centers coupled with enterprise and SMB refresh of x86-based platforms, while high-end systems were helped by IBM's z13 refresh, which began in 1Q15 and has since been decelerating.

Meanwhile, 3Q15 demand for mid-range systems contracted by -5.8 percent year over year to $1.2 billion, as the x86 refresh appears to have run its course in this segment.

"As the server market nears the end of 2015 with continued growth, fears of depleted IT budgets from an early run on servers have failed to materialize," said Kuba Stolarski , research director at IDC.

In the longer term, IDC expects server market growth to be driven by software-defined, disaggregated systems and network edge-deployed Internet of Things (IoT) compute requirements.

Overall Computer Server Market Share, by Vendor

HP captured worldwide unit market share of 27.5 percent in 3Q15 on 9.0 percent year-over-year revenue growth to $3.7 billion.

Dell showed year-over-year revenue growth of 7.3 percent and its $2.4 billion placed the company in the number 2 position with 18.1 percent market share this quarter.

IBM retained its number 3 position following its x86 divestiture with $1.3 billion in revenue and 9.6 percent market share. IBM's revenues are now associated with its POWER and System Z product lines.

Lenovo finished the quarter in the number 4 position with 7.8 percent worldwide market share on $1.1 billion in 3Q15 revenues.

Cisco was in fifth place with $886 million in server revenue and 6.6 percent revenue market share. That said, Cisco's year-over-year growth of 12.7 percent is above average, suggesting they are still capturing market share. Cisco's blade business also continued to grow, with revenue second only to HP in 3Q15.

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