Hard times ahead for EMEA server vendors, says Gartner

The signs of recovery seen in the EMEA server market two years ago seem to have largely dissipated, according to Gartner's latest market stats, with the region suffering a second consecutive quarter of volume decline and a third consecutive quarter of revenue decline, and the bad news is there may b

The signs of recovery seen in the EMEA server market two years ago seem to have largely dissipated, according to Gartner's latest market stats, with the region suffering a second consecutive quarter of volume decline and a third consecutive quarter of revenue decline, and the bad news is there may be worse to come.

Gartner research director Adrian O'Connell said that although the economic environment continued to limit overall spending "structural changes" in the European server infrastructure market were also now having an impact.

The problem was particularly severe in the RISC/Itanium Unix and 'Other' CPU segments, said O'Connell, which saw declines of 25.7% and 29.4% respectively.

"The Unix segment in particular is struggling and although we are seeing results vary by vendor, the overall segment appears to be rapidly approaching a tipping point, which could undermine the long-term viability of the segment," he explained.

Even the x86 segment was not immune, declining 2.6%, which according to Gartner may be a harbinger of even more extreme disruption.

"A combination of platform migrations, business challenges and technology changes is sending ripples through the industry," said O'Connell. "Even the x86 segment, that has driven the market for so long, will start to face challenmges as new servers based on extreme low-energy processors threaten to undermine the strength of its ecosystem."

Out of the top five players in EMEA - HP, IBM, Dell, Oracle and Fujitsu - only Dell booked growth in sales and shipments during Q1. Market leader HP suffered weakness in its Business Critical Servers division and was hurt by Oracle's withdrawl of support for Itanium; its sales were down 19% and its shipments by 10.6%, while its marketshare dipped by 4%.

In total, the EMEA market was worth $3.26bn (£2.11bn) during Q1, down 10.5%, and total shipments were down 2.2% to 626,085.

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