Server shipment growth anemic in 2001

Although the worldwide server market saw continued growth in 2001, the annual growth rate in unit shipments for the year was at its lowest since 1996, according to preliminary statistics released Wednesday by Gartner Inc.’s Dataquest Inc. division.

Worldwide server shipments totaled 4.4 million in 2001, an increase of 1.8 per cent from 2000, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Dataquest said in a statement.

The analyst firm pointed to the general global economic slowdown along with the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. as reasons for the decline in growth. In the U.S. alone, the server market dropped by 9.5 per cent in 2001, with shipments of 1.7 million units as compared to 1.9 million units in 2000, Gartner Dataquest said.

While Compaq Computer Corp. held on to its top spot as the worldwide leader with 23.3 per cent of the worldwide server market (followed by Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.), Dell led in the U.S. market with 23.4 per cent, followed closely by Compaq with 22.6 per cent, Gartner Dataquest said.

Dell was singled out by Gartner Dataquest for being the only company in the top five to see growth in both the U.S. and worldwide server markets due to its direct business and build-to-order models, which encouraged low inventory levels, as well as the company’s focus on one-, two- and four-way servers.

Other analysts and IT consultants were not surprised by the Gartner Dataquest preliminary report. “It makes sense that the server market is slowing down. Companies are reconsidering their needs and waiting to see what direction the market goes – for example, waiting to see if they should go with servers using open-source software like Linux or with Microsoft (Corp.),” said Eddie Bleasdale, managing director of the U.K.-based Netproject Ltd., a for-profit consultancy company and association of user organizations.

“As for Dell, they are the company that is going to come out on top in the end only because they have been able to strip out all excess costs,” Bleasdale said.

Gartner Dataquest’s full report on the server markets in both the U.S. and globally is due sometime next month.