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Global shipments of servers increased 16.8 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, while revenue for those shipments grew 13.2 percent, according to researcher Gartner Inc.
Shipments and revenue increased in 2010 because of replacement of aging x86 servers, which had been maintained through the 2009 economic downturn. The growth of cloud computing also helped drive sales, especially in North America, while emerging areas, including Asia-Pacific and Latin America, had strong server demand, according to Gartner.
In total, 8.8 million servers shipped in 2010, compared to 7.5 million in 2009, according to Gartner. Revenue increased from $43 billion in 2009 to $48.8 billion in 2010. Gartner reported server growth will continue in 2011, but at a slower rate than 2010 because the highest level of the replacement cycle for x86 servers was probably reached in 2010.
X86 systems posted consistent strong growth in each quarter of 2010. The only area of the market that remained weak was the UNIX segment. The UNIX segment saw revenue decline 18.7 percent in the fourth quarter. UNIX vendors are squeezed between new investments in x86 platforms and the entrenched but strong installed base of System Z, according to Gartner.
HP and IBM were in a virtual tie for top server vendor as each had revenue of about $15 billion and a market share of 31 percent.
Blade servers posted a revenue increase of 29.5 percent and a shipment increase of 12.6 percent for the year. HP was the 2010 leader in blade shipments with 47.3 percent share, followed by IBM with 25.4 percent share.