NPD Group: Top 8 Server Brands Of 2016 Q2

Slumping Servers

It was a tough quarter for the server market, with every major brand except for Dell and Super Micro seeing steep declines in the number of units shipped through distribution, according to NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm.

Long the market's dominant player, Hewlett Packard Enterprise moved more servers through distribution than any other vendor in the second quarter, but saw its market share decline nearly 17 percent. And HPE got off easy compared to a couple of other vendors.

In total, the server market contracted about 20 percent year over year in the second quarter and vendors struggled to gain market share, NPD's data suggests.

NPD primarily tracks U.S. Global Technology Distribution Council members. Click through to see NPD's ranking of the top eight server brands of the second quarter.

8. Oracle

Oracle finished the quarter with a 0.2 percent market share in servers, unchanged from the same period a year ago, according to NPD. That stability comes even as the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm saw shipments through distribution decline more than 15 percent. Lately, Oracle has introduced updated engineered systems based on its SPARC S7 server platform, and intended to bring x86 economics to enterprise cloud customers.

7. Dell

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell gained a bit of market share, and finished the second quarter with a 1.9 percent share compared to 1.3 percent a year prior, according to NPD's data. Dell was also one of only two vendors to see shipments increase year over year, booking 22 percent growth in shipments through distribution, NPD said. Earlier this year, Dell rolled out updated PowerEdge servers optimized for big data and analytics.

6. Intel

Intel, which sells a line of server systems available from 1U to 4U, saw a modest market-share increase in the second quarter, climbing to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent a year ago, according to NPD despite shipments through distribution falling off more than 12 percent.

5. Super Micro Computer

Super Micro was the second quarter's real success story, nearly doubling its market share to 3.3 percent and also nearly doubling shipments. Super Micro recently debuted its latest servers designed for high-performance computing, including a 2U, four-node server built around Intel's latest Xeon Phi processors.

4. IBM

IBM's server business has been up and down in recent quarters. It climbed strongly in late 2015 on the back of a broad refresh, but then fell precipitously when the refresh cycle came to a close. In the second quarter, IBM's market share fell to 6.7 percent from 9.4 percent a year earlier, according to NPD. Shipments through distribution fell nearly 43 percent over the same time, NPD said.

3. Cisco Systems

Cisco's share of the market fell a little more than 3 percent, dropping to 8.8 percent in the second quarter from 12 percent a year prior, according to NPD data. Cisco in March rolled out its own hyper-converged infrastructure system, HyperFlex, based on its successful UCS servers, Cisco networking, and software-defined storage from startup SpringPath.

2. Lenovo

With a 19.6 percent share, Lenovo was the second-biggest server vendor of the quarter. That share number ticked up from 19.2 percent a year earlier, according to NPD's numbers, and provided a contrast to the fact that Lenovo's shipments through distributors fell more than 18 percent. Lenovo is in the midst of reorganizing its server business around its System X line, which it acquired from IBM in late 2014. The goal is to phase out its existing ThinkServer line and bring System X prices down to ThinkServer levels.

1. HPE

HPE secured its usual place atop NPD's ranking, but it wasn't immune to the weakness in the server market overall. Like Lenovo, HPE saw a small increase in market share, to 57.2 percent from 54.7 percent a year ago. Also like Lenovo, that consolidation of share came as the number of HPE units shipped through distribution fell nearly 17 percent, according to NPD. Like other vendors, HPE updated its ProLiant server portfolio this year with the latest Intel Broadwell processor, and also updated the line's management, security and storage capabilities.