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Worldwide Server Market Revenues Decline -4.4% in the Fourth Quarter as Weak Midrange and High-end Server Demand Weighs on the Market, According to IDC

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market decreased -4.4% year over year to $14.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13). This was the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue decline, as server market demand remained weak ahead of a forthcoming refresh cycle, which is expected to emerge in early 2014. Worldwide server shipments increased 8.2% to 2.5 million units in 4Q13 when compared with the same year-ago period. For the full year 2013, worldwide server revenue decreased -4.4% to $49.7 billion when compared to 2012, while worldwide unit shipments increased 3.2% to 9.0 million units, a record high.

On a year-over-year basis, volume systems experienced 8.0% revenue growth to $10.2 billion in 4Q13. At the same time, demand for midrange and high-end systems experienced sharp year-over-year revenue declines of -19.6% and -28.5% to $1.2 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively, in 4Q13. The volume segment was aided by a continued expansion of x86-based hyperscale server infrastructures.

"While a record number of servers shipped in 4Q13, the market was constrained by weak demand for midrange and high-end systems. The market continues to be impacted by enterprise focus on 2nd platform workload consolidation, which at this point in time is only partially offset by 3rd Platform hyperscale server deployments around the globe," said Matt Eastwood, Group Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Platforms at IDC. "2nd Platform workloads continue to represent a healthy profit pool for server vendors targeting consolidation opportunities across the market. However, new profit pools in the 3rd Platform are emerging that create new market opportunities for OEMs and ODMs. IDC believes this market transformation requires increased focus from vendors in order to best capitalize on these diverging market trends."

Overall Server Market Standings, by Vendor

HP and IBM were statistically tied* for the number 1 position in the worldwide server systems market. HP had 26.9% market share in factory revenue for 4Q13, as revenue increased 5.7% year over year to $3.8 billion. HP experienced improvements in demand for its x86-based ProLiant servers, particularly in the U.S. IBM had 26.8% market share for the quarter as revenue decreased -28.5% year over year to $3.8 billion in 4Q13. IBM experienced significant year-over-year declines in quarterly revenue for all three families of systems – System x, POWER Systems, and System z mainframes. Dell server revenue declined -2.4% year over year to $2.1 billion, maintaining third place with 14.5% factory revenue market share in 4Q13. Cisco and Oracle ended the quarter in a statistical tie for the number 4 market position with 4.5% and 4.1% factory revenue share, respectively.

Top 5 Corporate Family, Worldwide Server Systems Factory Revenue, Fourth Quarter of 2013 (Revenues are in Millions)

Vendor 4Q13 Revenue    

4Q13 Market

    4Q12 Revenue    

4Q12 Market



1. HP* $3,832     26.9%     $3,626     24.3%     5.7%
1. IBM* $3,820 26.8% $5,344 35.9% -28.5%
3. Dell $2,058 14.5% $2,109 14.2% -2.4%
4. Cisco* $646 4.5% $480 3.2% 34.5%
4. Oracle* $589 4.1% $602 4.0% -2.2%
ODM Direct $907 6.4% $616 4.1% 47.3%
Others $2,389 16.8% $2,116 14.2% 12.9%
All Vendors $14,242 100% $14,893 100% -4.4%

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, February 2014

* Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide server market when there is less than one percent difference in the revenue share of two or more vendors.

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing year-over-year market share change for the top 5 vendors in the worldwide server market is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

Top 5 Corporate Family, Worldwide Server Systems Factory Revenue, Full Year 2013 (Revenues are in Millions)

Vendor 2013 Revenues    

2013 Market

    2012 Revenues    

2012 Market



1. HP $13,240     26.6%     $14,149     27.2%     -6.4%
2. IBM $12,746 25.6% $15,749 30.3% -19.1%
3. Dell $8,275 16.6% $8,057 15.5% 2.7%
4. Oracle* $2,329 4.7% $2,660 5.1% -12.4%
4. Cisco* $2,232 4.5% $1,610 3.1% 38.7%
ODM Direct $2,816 5.7% $1,790 3.4% 57.3%
Others $8,085 16.3% $8,013 15.4% 0.9%
All Vendors $49,722 100% $52,028 100% -4.4%

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, February 2014

* Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide server market when there is less than one percent difference in the revenue share of two or more vendors.

Top Server Market Findings

  • Linux server demand continued to be positively impacted by cloud infrastructure deployments, as hardware revenue increased 14.4% year over year to $4.1 billion in 4Q13. Linux servers now represent 28.5% of all server revenue, up 4.6 points when compared with the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Microsoft Windows server hardware revenue increased 0.1% year over year in 4Q13 with quarterly server hardware revenue totaling $6.5 billion, representing 45.7% of overall quarterly factory revenue, up 2.0 points over the prior year's quarter.
  • Unix servers experienced a revenue decline of -20.2% year over year to $1.9 billion representing 13.6% of quarterly server revenue for the quarter.
  • After four consecutive quarters of revenue growth, IBM's System z mainframe running z/OS revenue declined -36.8% year over year to $1.1 billion, representing 8.0% of all server revenue in 4Q13.

"The Unix market continued its secular decline, and mainframes had large declines on a difficult compare to a year ago, amid explosive growth in hyperscale and ODM Direct sales," said Kuba Stolarski, Research Manager, Servers at IDC. "As the Unix server market continues to undergo consolidation and price compression, and as mainframes find their niche, IDC believes that the server market is very close to a tipping point, when hyperscale growth will be large enough to overshadow declines in the high-end. The additional growth in ODM Direct sales, spurred most recently by massive datacenter expansion by some of the largest service providers, will help the server market reach that tipping point faster."

x86 Industry Standard Server Market Dynamics

Demand for x86 servers continued to improve in 4Q13, with revenues growing 7.8% in the quarter to $10.7 billion worldwide with unit shipments up 8.6% year over year to 2.5 million servers. HP led the market with 32.2% revenue share based on 8.9% revenue growth while gaining 0.3 points of share when compared to 4Q12. Dell retained second place, securing 19.2% revenue share following a -2.4% year-over-year revenue decline while losing 2.0 points of share when compared with the fourth quarter of 2012. IBM rounded out the top three x86 server positions, holding 12.7% revenue share following a

-15.9% 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 consolidation and virtualization, grew 2.8% year over year to $2.4 billion. Blades now account for 17.0% of total server revenue. HP maintained the number 1 position in the blade server market in 4Q13 with 44.0% revenue share; Cisco and IBM held the second and third positions in the blade market with 20.5% and 19.5% revenue share, respectively.

Density optimized servers, utilized by large homogeneous hyperscale datacenters, also experienced solid demand in 4Q13. Revenue grew 70.3% year over year in 4Q13 to $1.2 billion as unit shipments increased 64.6% to just over 382,000 servers. Density optimized servers now represent 8.5% of all server revenue and 15.4% of all server shipments. HP maintained the number 1 position in the density optimized segment and Dell held the number 2 position in 4Q13 with 34.9% and 19.7% revenue share, respectively.

"Blades and density optimized servers account for a quarter of server market revenue, up from one fifth a year ago," said Stolarski. "That is further evidence that the shift towards public cloud hyperscale deployments on one hand, and private clouds on integrated systems on the other, is real and significant. Since a large portion of hyperscale is still deployed on rack-mounted servers, the potential for modular design growth in the near future is substantial."

IDC's Server Taxonomy

IDC's Server Taxonomy maps the eleven price bands within the server market into three price ranges: volume servers, midrange servers and high-end servers. The revenue data presented in this release is stated as factory revenue for a server system. IDC presents data in factory revenue to determine market share position. Factory revenue represents those dollars recognized by multi-user system and server vendors for ISS and upgrade units sold through direct and indirect channels and includes the following embedded server components: Frame or cabinet and all cables, processors, memory, communications boards, operating system software, other bundled software and initial internal and external disk shipments.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker is a quantitative tool for analyzing the global server market on a quarterly basis. The Tracker includes quarterly shipments (both ISS and upgrades) and revenues (both customer and factory), segmented by vendor, family, model, region, operating system, price band, CPU type, and architecture. For more information, please contact Lidice Fernandez at 305-351-3051 or [email protected].

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. In 2014, IDC celebrates its 50th anniversary of providing strategic insights to help clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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