Worldwide second quarter 2011 server sales grew at a fast clip as demand for entry-level, midrange, and enterprise servers grew with an uptick in IT spending.
The news was especially good for IBM, which received a big bump from the growing strength of the Unix and mainframe server market to move it past Hewlett-Packard to claim the title of top server vendor.
Also benefiting from the increase in server sales was Fujitsu, which saw its sales more than double, putting it within striking distance of overtaking Oracle as the fourth largest server vendor.
Another winner was Cisco, which only recently entered the blade server market with its UCS offering but which ended up with a 10-percent of that part of the market.
Total server sales for the second quarter of 2011 reached $13.2 billion, up 17.9 percent over the $11.2 billion in sales for the second quarter of 2010, making this the second-best second quarter ever in terms of server sales, IDC reported.
Leading the pack were IBM, which had sales of $4.008 billion, followed by HP with sales of $3.922 billion, putting them in a statistical tie. However, IBM's sales grew 24.5 percent over last year, helping it grab the server sales crown from HP whose sales grew only 9.3 percent during the same time period.
Following at number three was Dell, which saw sales grow 5.1 percent over last year to reach $1.2 billion. It was followed by Oracle at number 4 with sales of $941 million, up a mere 4.2 percent over last year.
The real star was Fujitsu with a 133.6 percent growth in year-to-year sales to $849 million, IDC reported. At that rate, Fujitsu could overtake Oracle in terms of server sales in the near future.
IBM's rapid growth in server sales was due to the change in server mix. Revenue for the high-end server market, including mainframes, rose 22.8 percent over the second quarter of 2010, compared to only 16.7 percent for midrange enterprise server sales and 16.6 percent for volume servers, IDC reported. IBM sold $1.2 billion worth of System z mainframe servers in the second quarter, up 61.1 percent over last year, while IBM's Unix server sales grew 14.0 percent over the year.
Jean Bozman, research vice president for enterprise servers at IDC, said in a statement that the Unix server market was hard-hit in 2009 and 2010 due to the recession as customers deferred or delayed purchases of midrange and high-end servers. "Now, many mission-critical workloads need more room for workload consolidation, and user demand for long-deployed applications and databases is growing," Bozman said.
Blade servers also did very well in the quarter. Shipments of blade servers rose 6.2 percent compared to last year, while revenue from those shipments rose 26.9 percent, indicating a strong rise in the average selling price.
Blade servers accounted for 15.2 percent of all server sales during the second quarter. HP was the largest blade server vendor in the quarter with a 51.9 percent share of the market, followed by IBM with a 19.1 percent market share, Cisco with a 10 percent share, and Dell with an 8.2 percent share.