Asian server sales make like a tiger

Australia throws whole pallets of servers on the barbie

The box counters at IDC and Gartner have already given out their report cards for server sales and shipments in the fourth quarter and for the full year on a global basis, which El Reg has dutifully reported and analyzed. Just for fun, and perhaps to show us all what a real server market looks like, Gartner put out a set of statistics for the Asia/Pacific region.

The excuse to talk about AP was the Gartner Information, Operations, and Data Center Summit in Sydney, Australia, which will be held later this month. India, China, and Australia did not really take much of a hit in the Great Recession, and server sales have done well.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, Gartner reckons that companies in AP countries spent $2.54bn on servers, an increase of 22.4 per cent over the year-ago period; shipments rose by 13.9 per cent, to 475,687 boxes.

"Strong sales were driven by enterprise buying preferences favoring a richer configuration of rack-optimized and blade servers," explained Gartner principal analyst Errol Rasit in a statement accompanying the statistics for the region. "Unlike the rest of the world, the region saw growth in the RISC/Itanium Unix servers and mainframes. Investment was driven by the largest vertical markets such as financial, telecommunications and government."

You think China is hot and spicy soup when it comes to server sales? Forget it about it. It ain't got nothing on the Australian barbie. In Q4, thanks to what must have been an amazing quarter for IBM mainframe sales as well as well as x64 boxes big and small, Australian server sales shot up by a staggering 57.6 per cent, according to Gartner. That sales rate put Hong Kong (up 28.6 per cent) and China (up 21.8 per cent) to utter shame. Interestingly, shipments in Hong Kong were actually down 6 per cent, but high-end servers (mainframes and big RISC/Itanium machines) sold well and made up the difference and then some.

Across the whole AP region, Unix-based systems using RISC or Itanium processors had a 6 per cent revenue bump. Gartner didn't say how much revenues Unix machines generated in the Asia/Pacific region in Q4, but as El Reg previously reported, RISC/Itanium boxes running Unix generated just under $10bn in sales and declined 11.6 per cent year-on-year on a global basis, according to Gartner.

Mainframe sales were up 61 per cent compared to the year-ago period, a little less than the global average. Gartner did not give out shipment numbers for mainframes, but globally it can't have been more than several hundred so AP was probably less than a hundred boxes. (That is a somewhat educated guess, but still a guess.) Sales of x64-based boxes rose by 31.5 per cent against shipments that were only up 14.3 per cent. Customers the world over are buying fatter x64 boxes to support server virtualization. Incidentally, in the AP countries, x64 machines accounted for 97 per cent of total server shipments and 57 per cent of total sales.

Ranked by sales, IBM is the top seller of servers in the AP region, breaking through the billion dollar barrier (yes, technically, a round number is not a barrier, I know) with $1.09bn in sales, up 30.2 per cent. Hewlett-Packard is far behind IBM, for this quarter at least, with only $748.6m in revenues (up 10.2 per cent), with Dell taking up its traditional number three spot, with $313m in revenues (up 28.2m). Oracle still held onto the number four spot in the AP rankings, with $108.7m in revenues in Q4, falling 19.8 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Because the AP region does not include Japan, Fujitsu is not the fifth ranked vendor: Inspur Electronics is, with $42.3m in sales up 38.6 per cent. Inspur sells computers from Hong Kong and makes them in China. Other vendors raked in $232.8m in server sales in Q4, rising 43.4 per cent.

For the full 2010 year, AP customers bought 1.66 million servers (up 18.9 per cent), which cost them $8.39bn (up 18.1 per cent). ®

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