Data centre spending boosts flagging server sales

Sales of blade servers destined for Europe’s expanding data centres boosted otherwise disappointing revenue for server manufacturers in the third quarter of 2008, according to analyst firm IDC.

Twelve per cent of money spent on all new servers in Q3 was spent on blades, up from 8.4 per cent in Q3 2007, and one of the few bright spots in a market down 3.8 per cent to $4bn (£2.7bn) over the same period.

Blade servers are optimised to pack maximum processing power into a smaller space while using less electricity and are widely deployed in both hosting company and enterprise data centres.

Total server shipments rose 4.9 per cent to 650,000 units, slowing down from double digit growth in previous quarters, and indicating that manufacturers are cutting prices to compete for scarce customer budget.

Many IT departments continue to scale down spending on new hardware and software, preferring to look at their existing data centre assets and focus on projects designed to reduce operational costs rather than add extra data processing or storage capacity, said IDC.

HP retains the biggest share of the overall server market by revenue with 37 per cent. IBM took 27 per cent, Sun 12 per cent, Dell 9 per cent and Fujitsu Siemens 8 per cent.

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