Linux, Windows Server Demand Drives 24% Gain - InformationWeek

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Linux, Windows Server Demand Drives 24% Gain

Unix didn't grab a piece of the market's fastest quarterly growth in more than 5 years.

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At a time when overall server sales are experiencing 11% year-over-year growth in factory revenue, demand for Linux and Windows servers continues to increase at the expense of Unix machines, a new IDC study finds.

Server unit shipments increased 23.8%, year-over-year, in the second quarter of 2010, up slightly from 23% shipment growth in the prior quarter, IDC said. This represents the most rapid year-over-year quarterly server shipment growth in more than five years, and is the fastest revenue growth since 2003, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.

"The server market is at a crossroads. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of improving server market demand and the fastest quarterly server revenue growth IDC has reported in more than 5 years," said Matt Eastwood, group VP of enterprise platforms at IDC.

Demand for Microsoft Windows servers was propelled, in part, by the accelerating x86 server market, which saw a 36.6% increase in hardware revenue and a 28.2% surge in unit shipments, year-over-year, the researcher said. For the quarter, Windows server revenue hit $5 billion, representing 46.5% of overall quarterly factory revenue, IDC determined.

In fact, x86 server revenue grew 35.3% last quarter, hitting $7 billion worldwide, with unit shipments of 1.8 million servers, said IDC.

"Within the x86 server market, enterprise spending has had a strong return through server refreshes," said Reuben Miller, senior analyst, enterprise servers at IDC. "As the economy begins to show signs of recovery, large enterprise businesses are gaining a better view of spending capabilities for the remainder of the fiscal year and beginning to increase their investments"

Linux server sales also grew, with revenue increasing 30% to $1.8 billion over the same period in 2009, according to IDC. Today, Linux servers account for 16.8% of all server revenue, an increase of 2.5% over the second quarter of last year, the research firm said.

However, this growth apparently came at Unix's expense: Revenue for Unix servers dropped 7.2% to $2.9 billion, said IDC. Unix now accounts for 26.3% of quarterly server spending, a decrease of 5.2% vs. the second quarter of 2009 but up 3.9 points from the first quarter of 2010, the research firm said.

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