More rack sales than RISC: IDC

Findings of IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker highlight a growing IT trend – enterprises are boosting computing capacity incrementally via low-cost volume servers.

Compared with the same quarter a year ago, the worldwide server market is still a sluggish one, according to the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm. Revenue dipped 3.6 per cent, to US$10.5 billion during the first quarter of 2003. IDC says organizations have tightened their IT budgets but have managed to add computing power with rack-optimized servers.

Rack-optimized servers and server blades, such as those used in clusters and server farms, are becoming an effective alternative to larger RISC-based solutions, according to IDC.

While worldwide server sales in the first quarter were in-step with traditional seasonal buying patterns, the numbers also reflect new buying patterns that have cropped up during the economic downturn of the last two years, according to IDC.

In Canada, server sales have generally fallen in line with the global figures, according to Toronto-based Alan Freedman, research manager of infrastructure hardware for IDC Canada Ltd.

Not only is the volume server an easy way to add capacity, it is also the most likely purchase decision that will get approved, Freedman said.

“And functionality of the volume servers is increasing…so you can do more with a volume server than [you] could have in the past.”

Stephen Ibaraki, chairman for New Westminister, B.C.-based iGEN Knowledge Solutions Inc., said that the trend of IT departments buying volume servers – servers priced less than US$25,000 – as a low-cost way to add capacity likely will continue.

Numbers and share

Overall market spending appears to have stabilized, IDC noted. IBM Corp. came in at No. 1, with a 30.4 per cent market share in fac