Cloud computing, mobile demands drive up IT spending

Servers, storage, and security sales continue to rise as companies loosen their purse strings

IT organizations have some cause for extra holiday cheer: Tech spending has steadily risen over the past year and will continue to grow come 2011.

Several factors are contributing to companies loosening their purse strings to invest heavily in IT product. Beyond the improving economic climate, organizations are looking to increase their adoption of maturing, game-changing technologies, including cloud computing, mobile computing, and social networking.

Demand for x86s puts HP on top of the server heap

According to IDC, the server market has especially boomed of late. Worldwide factory server revenue increased 13.2 percent year over year to $11.8 billion in the third quarter of 2010, with server shipments expanding by 13.1 percent year over year. The increased demand for server hardware hit an array of geographic regions and sectors, too, including SMBs, enterprise companies, the public sector, and cloud/hosted organizations.

Demand for volume servers was especially high, with revenue growth of 22.8 percent of last year's; meanwhile, midrange servers enjoyed growth of 19.8 percent. Sales of high-end enterprise systems, however, dropped by 10.4 percent, according to IDC.

"The server market experienced its strongest growth in 10 years in the third quarter of 2010," said Matt Eastwood, group vice president of Enterprise Platforms at IDC. "While much of the third-quarter refresh occurred in x86 and CISC-based mainframes, IDC expects the recovery to extend to Unix platforms in the fourth quarter of 2010."

That increased demand for x86 systems helped push HP to the No. 1 spot among worldwide server vendors. As of Q3, the company owns 33.4 percent of the share, according to IDC. Strong demand for x86 ProLiant servers helped to fuel sales in the past quarter as HP saw revenue increase by 22.2 year over year.

Close behind HP is IBM, which holds 30.6 percent of the server market. "Although IBM continued to experience weakness in its Power Systems business, System z demand improved nicely following the recent zEnterprise product refresh cycle coupled with a continued strength in demand for the x86-based System x servers during the quarter," IDC reports.

Rounding out the top five is Dell, which holds 14.1 percent of the factory revenue market share and enjoyed 18.7 percent revenue growth thanks to demand from enterprise and small and medium-sized businesses; Oracle at 6.7 percent market share; and Fujitsu, with 5.1 percent of the market share for Q3.

Unix falters against Microsoft, Linux, and z/OS
The accelerating demand for x86 servers was good news for Microsoft. Shipments of hardware running Microsoft server platforms increased by nearly 15 percent year over year, with Windows servers representing 47.7 percent of overall quarterly factory revenue, according to IDC.

Linux server revenue, meanwhile, grew 32.6 percent over the past year; Linux machines now represent 17.5 percent of worldwide server revenue. 

IBM's System z servers running z/OS also showed positive growth, according to IDC: "Overall, z/OS server revenue improved 14.8 percent year over year to $1.0 billion, representing 8.6 percent of all server revenue in Q310."

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