Pent-up server demand led customers to buy significantly more servers in the fourth quarter of 2010, giving a big boost to 2010 overall server sales of all the key vendors except Oracle, according to a new report from Gartner.
Gartner on Thursday reported fourth quarter 2010 server shipments grew 6.5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 to reach 2.4 million units.
Revenue grew even faster year-over-year, reaching $14.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 16.4 percent, Gartner said.
The 2010 growth was a combination of pent-up demand and the replacement cycle, said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner.
"You had Nehalem come out, and it pushed everything ahead," he said.
This is a sharp contrast to the results of 2009. Gartner last year said that 2009 server shipments were down 16.6 percent compared to 2008, while revenue fell 18.3 percent during the same period.
The strong shipment and revenue growth in the fourth quarter helped drive overall server shipments and revenue for the entire year. For all of 2010, vendors shipped 8.8 million servers, up 16.8 percent over 2009. The total value of those servers reached $48.8 billion, up 13.2 percent over last year.
For all of 2010, Hewlett-Packard retained its ranking as the world's largest server vendor in terms of shipments with a 31.7 percent market share. That mean that nearly one out of every three servers sold worldwide came from HP, which enjoyed a 17.3 percent growth over 2009.
Dell remained the second largest server vendor in terms of shipments thanks to a 21.3 percent growth over 2009. That made Dell the fastest-growing of the top five server vendors for the year. The company accounted for 23.4 percent of all servers sold worldwide.
IBM was third in terms of server shipments, which grew for the company by 12.8 percent to give it a 13.1-percent share of the market. It was followed by Fujitsu, which saw shipments grow 18.8 percent to grab a 3.3-percent share.
The laggard of the top five was Oracle, which early last year got into the server business via its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Gartner estimated that Oracle sold 162,340 servers in 2010, down 31.6 percent from its 2009 shipments.
In terms of total server revenue for 2010, HP took the lead away from IBM with a growth rate double that of its competitor.
HP sold $15.3 billion worth of servers in 2010, up 18.9 percent over its 2009 sales. IBM, which was the market leader in 2009, slipped to the number two spot with a relatively anemic growth rate of 9.2 percent to reach $15.0 billion.
Dell, in third place, had the strongest growth of the top vendors. Its server sales grew 31.3 percent over 2009 to reach $7.2 billion in 2010. It was followed by Oracle, which saw its server sales plummet 17.7 percent to $3.1 billion, followed by Fujitsu, which grew sales 5.1 percent to reach $2.1 billion.
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