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Technology research firm Gartner (IT - Snapshot Report) recently released its third quarter 2011 server shipment results. Server shipments in the reported quarter grew 7.2% on a year-over-year basis, while revenues generated by server shipments increased 5.2% from the year-ago quarter.

The industry witnessed worldwide growth, as most geographies,with the exception of Western Europeposted both shipment and revenue growth. Western Europewitnessed a revenue decline of 4.9% during the period. The Asia/Pacific saw the highest shipment growth, with revenues increasing 23.9%. Eastern Europe posted the highest revenue growth of 27.4% during the period.

Within the server segment, the x86 servers expanded considerably and reported unit and revenue growth of 7.6% and 9.3%, respectively. However, x86 server growth was relatively soft in Western Europe and the United States due to comparatively strong third quarter 2010 results.

This apart, the RISC/Itanium Worldwide Unix server shipments reported a modest decline of 6.8%, while vendor revenue increased 3.5% compared with the same quarter last year. The ‘other’ CPU category, which primarily includes mainframes, also witnessed a decline of 6.9%.

With respect to the individual server manufacturers, three of the top five global manufacturers reported year-over-year revenue growth, while server segment revenue of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Analyst Report) and Oracle Inc (ORCL - Analyst Report) declined on a year-over-year basis.

Based on the total revenue generated by the server segment, International Business Machines (IBM - Analyst Report) emerged as the leader with 29.7% market share, with revenue growing 3.5% year over year. Hewlett-Packard was placed in the second position with 29.3% market share, a decline of 3.6% from the year-ago quarter. Dell Inc. and Oracle were ranked third and fourth with 14.7% and 5.9% market share, respectively.

While HP retained the top position in terms of total shipments with 29.2% market share, followed by Dell and IBM with 21.8% and 12.1% market share, respectively. HP’s worldwide server shipment share of 29.2% represented a 3.1% drop from the same quarter in 2010.

In terms of product category, blade server shipments rose 3.3% and revenues spiked 7.6% in the quarter. The rack-optimised form factor climbed 8.2% in shipments and 6.3% in revenue during the third quarter of 2011.

We believe that the demand for new servers in the upcoming fourth quarter will remain subdued due to lower demand, as a result of lower tech spending and the European debt crisis.

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