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The x86-based server market did well, with first quarter 2011 revenue jumping 12.0 percent while shipments increased 2.6 percent to 1.9 million units, IDC said. They accounted for 66.3 percent of the total worldwide market in revenue terms.
However, Unix and mainframe sales increased even faster, by 12.3 percent over last year, making it the first time that non-x86 server sales grew faster than x86-based server sales for some time, Scaramella said.
IBM mainframes did especially well, with first quarter 2011 sales up 41.1 percent over the same period of last year. "IBM had a huge Q4 and Q1, thanks to a refresh of its mainframe line in late 2010," he said.
Many people have been calling for the demise of Unix and mainframe servers, Scaramella said. "But for mission-critical workloads, customers are still relying on them," he said. "These systems are very sticky with customers."
The growing importance of virtualization is causing the average selling price of servers to continue to rise, Scaramella said.
"Customers are buying more richly-configured systems with higher processor bins, more memory, and more I/O," he said. "Customers not only need to think about the server, but also about how they connect to storage and I/O. For the x86 server market, virtualization is a boon because customers are buying more server capacity at the x86 level."