Ready for a pleasant surprise? Server sales last year were strong.
How strong? According to new figures from Gartner, unit shipments of servers rose 3% worldwide for the full year 2017, while sales revenue rose a little over 10%.
For just the fourth quarter of 2017, the numbers were even better. Server unit shipments worldwide rose nearly 9% in Q4:17, the research and advisory firm says. And sales revenue grew by an even faster 26%, reaching $18.57 billion.
More good news from Gartner: By region, North America had the second-fastest market growth in the world. For the full year 2017, server revenue in North America grew nearly 28%. Unit shipments in the region rose nearly 10%.
The only server market growing faster was Asia-Pacific. There, full-year server revenue grew 35%, Gartner says. And unit shipments rose 21%.
Dell vs. HPE
By vendor, Dell EMC and HPE were pretty much tied for first place in revenue. In last year’s Q4, Dell EMC captured 19.4% of worldwide server revenue, while HPE captured 19.3%, according to Gartner. By dollars, that 0.1% difference worked out to about $28 million in Dell’s favor.
That’s a big shift from a year ago. Then, in the fourth quarter of 2016, Dell EMC’s share of worldwide server revenue was just 17.4%, and HPE’s was 23%, according to Gartner. In other words, between Q4:16 and Q4:17, Dell EMC gained 2 percentage points in revenue share, while HPE lost nearly 4.
By units shipped, Dell EMC was the clear leader worldwide. In Q4:17, it shipped 582,720 server units, for a worldwide market share of 18%, Gartner says. By comparison, HPE shipped about 440,000 units, for a market share of just under 14%.
And the future?
All well and good, but how about this year?
“Modest growth,” says Jeffrey Hewitt, a research VP at Gartner. Mainly because he expects many IT departments to opt for a hybrid approach. That means mixing and matching on-premises servers with allocations in the public cloud, depending on the goals of various applications.
If his prediction comes true, tech providers who rely on server-related sales may be disappointed. But at least you won’t be surprised.