Server and storage sales sickened in Q1 and not just because of you know what

IBM's server revenue grew rather nicely, but Lenovo's in a more-shipments-less-revenue trap

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Analyst firm IDC has published its assessment of the server and storage markets for 2020’s first quarter and the numbers are nasty.

Server revenue slumped by six percent year-on-year and it will come as little comfort to vendors that shipments fell by just 5,000 compared to the same period.

Dell retained its servers lead in terms of shipments and the metric it prizes most – revenue share – while HPE remained the second-largest vendor. But the latter company’s market share dropped by 2.5 percent.

Lenovo grew shipments but went backwards on revenue as its data centre business turnaround continued to prove elusive. IBM grew revenue by 16.3 percent but didn't crack IDC's top five scoreboard for shipments. Big Blue doesn’t bother with x86 servers so that uptick is proof-of-concept for its proprietary platforms having some life in ‘em yet. And even if that life is 4.8 percent revenue share, it's on the scoreboard and Cisco isn't.

IDC said the server sales slump was attributable to “slowing enterprise demand for x86 servers and supply chain constraints, both driven largely by macroeconomic impacts." The novel coronavirus didn’t rate a mention in its preliminary analysis. Here’s the firm’s numbers for Q1 2020 and Q1 2019.

Company Q1 2020 shipments Q1 2020 revenue Q1 2019 shipments Q1 2019 revenue
Dell 474,011 $3,473.70 516,997 $3,993.50
HPE 377,544 $2,891.30 411,124 $3,555.00
Inspur 211,007 $1,324.40 204,868 $1,219.90
Lenovo 153,570 $1,043.50 137,474 $1,131.80
IBM 132,001 $884.20 135,508 $760.10
ODM direct 770,446 $4,826.40 651,357 $4,549.30
Others 456,841 $4,168.30 523,194 $4,588.40
Totals 2,575,439 $18,611.80 2,580,522 $19.797.9

Things were also bleak in server-land, where sales were off by half a billion dollars. NetApp wore the worst of it, with revenue down by 20 percent year-on-year. Dell, HPE and Hitachi all lost ground, too. But IBM grew by 3.8 percent and Pure Storage managed 7.7 points of pleasure. The big grower was Huawei, up 17.7 percent year on year in a category less-exposed to fries-with-that sales attached to its networking business than most of its other offerings.

Here’s the numbers.

IDC external storage Q1 2020

Click to enlarge

IDC pinned this result on COVID-19, writing: "The external OEM market faced stiff headwinds during the first quarter as enterprises across the world had operations impacted by the global pandemic.”

The firm said COVID-19 would keep hyperscalers buying storage in Q2 “as many enterprises continue to default to remote work, individuals and employees leverage cloud-based collaboration tools, and content delivery networks ensure support for elevated levels of streaming entertainment consumption requirements." ®

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