Worldwide Server Market Revenues Decline -3.7% in the Third Quarter as Weak Unix Server Demand Weights on the Market, According to IDC

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, December 2013.

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing the worldwide server shipments over the previous five quarters is available here. Instructions on how to embed this graphic into online news articles and social media can be found by viewing this press release on

Top Server Market Findings

  • IBM's System z mainframe running z/OS experienced its fourth consecutive quarter of growth, increasing revenue 6.3% year over year to $827 million, representing 6.8% of all server revenue in 3Q13.
  • Linux server demand continued to be positively impacted by cloud infrastructure deployments, as hardware revenue increased at 5.6% year over year to $3.4 billion in 3Q13. Linux servers now represent 28.0% of all server revenue, up 2.5 points when compared with the third quarter of 2012.
  • Microsoft Windows server demand was down -1.3% year over year in 3Q13 with quarterly server hardware revenue totaling $6.1 billion representing 50.3% of overall quarterly factory revenue, up 1.2 points over the prior year's quarter.
  • Unix servers experienced a revenue decline of -31.3% year over year to $1.3 billion representing 11.1% of quarterly server revenue for the quarter. This was the lowest quarterly Unix server revenue ever reported by IDC.

Introducing ODM Direct Servers

In response to evolving market demand within large scale, Web 2.0, and cloud hosting environments, Original Design Manfucturers (ODMs), such as Quanta Computer, Wistron Group/Wiwynn, Inventec Corporation, Compal Electronics, etc., are selling both complete systems and partial sub systems -- where final assembly is completed in the channel by integrators – into the market. Complete ODM Direct systems were previously captured in the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker as a component of "Others" while partial sub system assemblies, frequently referred to as "self-built" servers, were not counted in the Tracker at all. IDC is now aggregating these server shipments under a new vendor category called "ODM Direct" with restated market data going back to Q1 2008.

ODM Direct server demand grew 45.2% year over year in 3Q13 to $783 million as unit shipments increased 30.7% to 325,685 servers. ODM Direct servers now represent 6.5% of all server revenue and 14.4% of all server shipments. 79.6% of all ODM Direct server revenue was generated in the U.S. in the quarter primarily through sales to Google, Amazon, Facebook and Rackspace.

"Each year, ODM Direct growth is accelerating as large, established hyperscale customers begin new expansion phases of their infrastructure footprints, and as the customer base for ODMs continues to broaden," said Kuba Stolarski, Research Manager, Enterprise Servers. "Capturing a majority of hyperscale demand for homogeneous environments, ODMs are well positioned for continued 3rd Platform infrastructure growth."

x86 Industry Standard Server Market Dynamics

Demand for x86 servers continued to improve in 3Q13, with revenues growing 2.8% in the quarter to $9.5 billion worldwide with unit shipment growth flat at 2.2 million servers. HP led the market with 32.3% revenue share based on 7.8% revenue growth while gaining 1.5 points of share when compared to 3Q12. Dell retained second place, securing 20.6% revenue share following a -6.0% year-over-year revenue decline while losing 1.9 points of share when compared with the third quarter of 2012. IBM rounded out the top three x86 server positions, holding 12.7% revenue share following a -17.6% year-over-year factory revenue decline.

Modular Form Factor Results

There are two types of modular form factors, each with a distinct use case. Blade servers, which are highly leveraged in enterprise's virtualized environments, grew 7.7% year over year to $2.3 billion. Blades now account for 18.7% of total server revenue. HP maintained the number 1 spot in the blade server market in 3Q13 with 43.6% revenue share; Cisco and IBM held the second and third position in the blade market with 20.4% and 18.3% revenue share, respectively.

Density Optimized servers, utilized by large heterogeneous datacenters, also experienced solid demand in 3Q13. Revenue grew 13.1% year over year in 3Q13 to $853 million as unit shipments increased 0.6% to just over 260,000 servers. Density Optimized servers now represent 7.1% of all server revenue and 11.9% of all server shipments. HP moved into the number 1 spot in the Density Optimized segment and Dell held the number 2 position in 3Q13 with 30.7% and 25.0% revenue share respectively.

"Blades continue to gain adoption with customers, as they are the foundation for many vendors' integrated systems," said Jed Scaramella, IDC Research Director, Servers. "Integrated systems combine server, storage, and networking to enable IT organizations to simplify their IT environments and accelerate time to deploy new IT services. The journey to convergence and integrated systems begins with a bladed ecosystem."

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