Itanium sales fall $13.4bn shy of $14bn forecast

Sun top Opteron vendor


Itanium server sales are coming in just as expected, hitting the $14bn revenue mark halfway through 2004.

Okay, well, not quite $14bn. That's the total analyst powerhouse IDC had once predicted Itanium would reach by the midway point of this year. In actual fact, total Itanium sales have hit $606m through the first two quarters of this year. Other organs might mock a $13.4bn miss by one of the world's leading number crunching firms but not us. We'll let you come to your own conclusions about such an incredible gaffe.

The $606m figure arrives courtesy of Gartner, which just released its second quarter server sales data. We covered the basics last week but thought a break down of Itanium and Opteron sales would provide a bit more insight into the server market. So here goes.

Total Itanium server sales hit $319m in the second quarter, which beat out the $287m total from the first quarter and crushed the $70m total from last year's second quarter. Total shipments hit 5,665 in Q2 compared to 2,717 in the same quarter last year.

The Itanium ecosystem is as unhealthy as ever with HP totally dominating sales. HP moved 4,789 of the 5,665 boxes shipped in the second quarter, earning $250m in revenue. That total is roughly equivalent to the RISC server business done by IBM or Sun in one week. HP, however, did more than double shipments from the 2,262 boxes moved in last year's second quarter. Still, HP's customers are understandably concerned about the Itanic's course.

SGI - another bet the company on Itanium company - also showed a huge increase in shipments, shifting 287 servers in the second quarter compared to just 54 servers last year. It pulled in $40m in revenue from these sales versus $16m one year ago, according to Gartner.

IBM also obliterated its total of 2 shipments last year to reach 208 sales this year, garnering $8m in revenue. That amount is probably the equivalent of the lawyers' fees needed to approve the writing of the word Itanium in an IBM press release.

NEC placed fourth with 38 units shipped and $6m in revenue up from 5 units shipped and $2m in revenue.

And in the You Don't See This Often in the Industry Standard Server Market category, Bull pulled in more revenue than Dell during the second quarter. Bull shipped 80 Itanium boxes for $5m in revenue, while Dell shipped 187 systems for $4m in revenue. Legend, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Samsung and LangChao managed to ship 70 Itanium servers combined, comfortably addressing the exploding demand for Itanic systems in Asia.

And now to the Opteron front.

In total, the Opteron server market is exploding but still well behind the vast Xeon server market. Total Opteron shipments in the second quarter hit 60,000 and generated $191m in revenue, according to Gartner. This compares to just 2,735 shipments and $8m in revenue in the same quarter last year.

White box makers dominated the Opteron scene with $138m in sales. Surprisingly, Sun Microsystems beat out IBM and HP for the lead among the large vendors with $22m in sales on 5,254 units. IBM moved 3,780 boxes for $14m in revenue, and HP moved 2,754 units for $8m in revenue. Dawning also shipped 2,324 units for $5m in revenue. No other prominent vendor shipped more than 200 units in the quarter.

One would likely expect both Sun and HP to take a significant lead over IBM when the third quarter figures roll out. Sun and HP have fairly complete Opteron server lines at this point, while IBM is still experimenting with a single box aimed at the high performance computing market. Multiple sources have indicated that Sun and HP are having trouble meeting demand for their Opteron boxes.

It's surprising to see IBM and Dell almost ignore the Opteron server market given the poor sales of their Itanium boxes. If you're going to experiment with a non-Xeon chip, why not make it worth your effort? IBM and Dell clearly have very tight relationships with Intel. ®

Related stories

Orion delivers first 'personal cluster' workstation
Intel pledges to bring Itanic down to Xeon price-point
Motorola plumps for HP Linux-on-Itanium boxes
HP users decry Itanium, SAP issues and bad English
HP's Unix base offered Opteron carrot
Intel gets quiet about the competition


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