Server Market Share

The server market has seen much change over the past 2 decades. There have been many ups and downs however the overall trajectory has been strongly upward. Advances in server virtualization appear to have negatively impacted sales of physical servers. Demand for servers continues to grow unabated but now IT shops can achieve virtualization percentages over 90% requiring only a single physical server for every ten hosts on their network. As a result server sales have started to creep downward.

Server market share also has seen some modest fluxuations in recent years. Hewlett Packard still holds the top spot with just under 30% of the market as measured by revenue. reports that HP is losing its lead however and has been trending downward since Mark Hurd’s departure as CEO. Mr. Hurd took over the President role at Oracle in 2010. Hewlett Packard’s bread and butter line of Intel based ProLiant servers remained weak as did it’s Itanium based Integrity line. International Business Machines (IBM) stayed a close number 2 to HP coming in with 27% of the market’s sales. Dell is still the number 3 manufacturer with about 16% market share.

Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems places it in the number four position. Ironically, Mark Hurd is now directly competing against his former employer. Also of interest is which servers Infor will be buying with a former Oracle chief now at the helm. Sun’s Solaris bases systems saw declines in order with those of the x86 and x64 lines from the top manufacturers. Worthy of’s mention in the number 5 position is Fujitsu because they were the only manufacturer in the top 5 that has an upward market share trend. The Big 5 dominate the server market with 86% of total world-wide sales.

On the Operating System front, both Linux and Microsoft’s Windows saw year over year increases. Linux in particular showed very strong growth as the majority of Cloud vendors are choosing it in an attempt to offer the lowest prices possible to its customers. The open source Linux is attractive because it has very low licensing costs which allow many startup cloud vendors to offer their services on a large scale with a small budget. Most of Windows and Linux’s gains were taken from the UNIX server market which saw revenues drop 17% year over year according the latest IDC report.

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