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Wondering where the growth is? Take a look at enterprise servers and storage.

Sales of enterprise servers rose 33% in the first quarter of this year, according to new figures from research firm Gartner, while unit shipments increased 17%.

Storage sales in Q1 increased by almost exactly the same amount, 34%, according to market watcher IDC, while capacity shipped increased by nearly 80%.

That’s a lot of growth. Here are the details.


In the first quarter of this year, server sales worldwide totaled $16.69 billion, Gartner says. That’s up 33% from the year-earlier quarter, when total server sales were $12.51 billion.

Unit sales growth was only about half as fast. A total of 3.05 million servers were shipped worldwide in Q1. According to Gartner, that marked a year-on-year increase of just 17% over the year-earlier quarter’s 2.60 million units.

How do you get 33% more dollars from only 17% more units? With a higher average selling price.

And why is that happening? Two reasons, explains Gartner analyst Jeffrey Hewitt. One, enterprises and midsize businesses are investing in on-premises and co-location infrastructure. They’re doing this to support server replacements and growth, even as they invest in public-cloud solutions. Two, DRAMs are still in short supply and therefore expensive.

Dell PowerEdge rack server

Dell server: over a half-million served

By server supplier, the first quarter was won by Dell EMC. The company enjoyed both the highest server sales revenue, $3.59 billion, and the highest number of shipments, 555,782 units. Compared with the year-earlier quarter, Dell’s server revenue rose 51%, while its server units shipped rose 19%, both of those beating the overall market.

By revenue, the other leaders in Q1 were HPE, Inspur, Lenovo and IBM, according to Gartner. By units shipped, the other leaders were HPE and Inspur again, but this time Huawei followed by Lenovo.


On the enterprise storage, there’s also a big split, but this time between sales revenue and capacity shipped.

In this year’s Q1, enterprise storage vendors brought in sales revenue of $13.0 billion, a year-on-year increase of 34%, according to IDC. But storage capacity shipped worldwide in Q1 grew a much faster 79%, rising to 98.8 exabytes — the equivalent of nearly 100 billion GB.

Storage sales to hyperscale data centers grew by an even faster 80%, according to IDC, reaching $3.1 billion. And storage sales related to servers increased 34% in the first quarter, to $3.6 billion.

Two main factors led to the fast growth in storage, according to IDC researcher Eric Sheppard. First was demand for public-cloud resources, meaning many of these storage purchase were made by the likes of AWS, Google and IBM.

Second is what Sheppard calls a “global enterprise infrastructure refresh” — companies looking to make their data centers more efficient, simpler to operate, and ready to support next-gen workloads.

Looking for growth of your own? Look into storage and servers for your midsize customers.


Blog Category: 
Cloud and Data Centers