Compute and Data Hungry Applications Drive EMEA Server Spending Growth of 3.4%, According to IDC

(PresseBox) (Frankfurt am Main / Prague, ) As reported in International Data Corporation's (IDC) EMEA Server Tracker, in the fourth quarter of 2014 the EMEA server market continued the strong growth seen in the past few quarters, reporting $3.7 billion in vendor revenue and 630,000 units shipped, for year-on-year growth of 1.2% and 4.4% respectively. For the full year 2014, vendor revenue was $128 billion and 2.6 million server units were shipped, with growth on 2013 at 3.4% and 1.2% respectively. This was the first full-year growth in both units and vendor revenue for the past three years for EMEA. Looking at the market in euros, EMEA in 4Q14 reported very strong YoY revenue growth (10.4%), but currency fluctuations are minimizing the impact on U.S.-based vendors in Europe.

The EMEA non-x86 market showed mixed signals again in 4Q14. Revenue was down 22% year on year in the quarter, reaching $675 million, as CISC, EPIC, and traditional RISC machines all showed double-digit declines. On the positive side, 4Q14 saw strong yearly volume growth (up 45% YoY), driven by initial deployments of miniature ARM servers in the region.

While ASPs in the non-x86 space declined to their lowest in 23 quarters, the EMEA x86 market has continued along its inverse trend, with ASPs continuing to rise to previously unseen levels. This increase in x86 ASPs pushed vendor revenue to $3 billion in 4Q14, a YoY increase of 8.3%, while units shipped only saw a 4% increase over 4Q13 (621,085 units). This trend in rising ASPs was even stronger in the European markets considering the difficult global economic situation. 2014 saw the EMEA x86 market break the $10 billion mark for the first time as vendor revenue grew 9.7% over 2013. Unit shipments have continued to react more slowly, only seeing a 1.2% increase over 2013 to 2.2 million unit shipments in 2014. Although the x86 market has shown continued growth it was outperformed by the non-x86 market, which gained 5% revenue share in 4Q14, accounting for 18.0% of all revenue generated in EMEA. IDC believes this trend is being driven by the emergence of Big Data, business analytics, and other compute hungry applications.

"As macroeconomics in Western Europe continue along the path of slow, tiresome recovery, we believe a key factor impacting spending and prices in the first half of 2015 will be currency. Strong dollar appreciation is playing a role in setting local currency selling prices. If this continues through the course of the year, IDC believes there is a potential downside on discretionary spending, especially in SMB environments," said Giorgio Nebuloni, associate research director with IDC EMEA.

The majority of this growth can be attributed to continued growth in rack-optimized server adoption - a market that contributed 59% of all x86 vendor revenue in 4Q14 and generated $1.7 billion in spending for the 335,000 units that were shipped into EMEA for 4Q14, to report a 1.6% YoY ASP increase. Blade servers contributed 26% ($775 million) to the overall revenue spend in the x86 EMEA server market for 4Q14 - a 2 percentage point increase on 3Q14 - though unit shipments continue to slow in comparison to the same quarter in 2013. Tower servers reported revenue and unit YoY declines of 3% and 4% respectively, to contribute a little over $300 million in vendor revenue for the 146,000 units that were shipped in the EMEA x86 market.

Western Europe Highlights

Western Europe has continued along last quarter's growth patterns to report a YoY gain of 5% in unit shipments and 11% in vendor dollar revenue. Overall Western Europe had a very good year with overall spending in 2014 $430 million higher than in 2013 (12% YoY); though this growth in spending was driven by increasing ASPs, Western Europe saw a 3% YoY increase in unit shipments to report 47,000 units more than were shipped into Western Europe in 2013.

Final figures for vendor revenue and units shipped into Western Europe for 4Q14 were $2.2 billion and 465,000 units respectively. Contributing 76% of revenue share, Western Europe reported slower growth in 4Q in comparison to other EMEA regions. It lost 1% revenue share to CEMA compared with 3Q14, but a YoY comparison shows that Western Europe gained 2% revenue share from 4Q13.

The slow but stable volume decrease seen by the non-x86 segment over the past few years did an about-face in 4Q14, with unit shipments growing 58% compared with the same quarter in 2013 - reporting a total of 7,500 units shipped into Western Europe for 4Q14, the highest unit shipments in 14 quarters. "This has been driven by the emergence of ARM servers in the Western Europe market - though these systems have markedly lower ASPs, IDC predicts that as larger vendors begin shipping more of these systems the non-x86 volumes will start to show positive growth. Spending impact will initially be fairly limited, but that might change toward the end of the year," said Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst, IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group.

Linux put in a strong performance in the x86 market in Western Europe in 2014, increasing revenue and unit share by 4 percentage points in comparison to 2013. 3Q14 saw the biggest increase in Linux revenue share with a 1.5% improvement over the previous quarter. The Linux operating system for 4Q14 in Western Europe managed to hold onto this revenue share, reporting 37% of the revenue and 35% of the unit share for the quarter. This was mainly due to strong quarters in Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, driven by the likes of Cray Inc., Dell, Group Bull, HP, and SGI, and the entrance of Lenovo.

"The moderate growth in the Western European server market this quarter was mainly fuelled by increases in rack and density-optimized server shipments, while blades and towers have seen moderate declines," said Andreas Olah, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Enterprise Server Group. "The expansion of hyperscale datacenters by cloud service providers that run on ODM servers to a large extent has contributed to the overall boost. Datacenter projects across the Nordics, Benelux, and Ireland have contributed to positive year-on-year growth in these markets in revenue terms, while moderate declines were observed in Germany, France, and Italy."

CEMA Highlights

"Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa [CEMA] server revenue recorded growth of 1.3% year over year to reach $906.23 million in the last quarter of 2014. Year-end spending of available budgets helped to lift x86 server sales in enterprise accounts and the education sector, while non-x86 sales performed well in the government segment," said Jiri Helebrand, research manager, IDC CEMA. "The Central and Eastern Europe [CEE] subregion grew 1.6% year over year to $498.54 million, benefitting from demand in the finance and government verticals. Russia performed better than initially projected as government budgets allowed for new investments toward the end of the year. Poland was also a surprise, driven by the delivery of several HPC deals. The Middle East and Africa [MEA] subregion was up 1% year over year to $408 million, driven by infrastructure investments in Saudi Arabia and UAE, offsetting the slowdown in South Africa and Turkey due to local currency depreciation."

EMEA Highlights

- Non-x86 revenues continued their steady spending decline (-21.6% YoY), driven by CISC servers (-36.8% YoY).
- Windows continues to grow its vendor revenue share and is up 2.3 percentage points YoY. Linux, however, rallied again in the quarter due to some larger deals, to report a 3.7 percentage point YoY increase and claim the largest OS gain for two consecutive quarters.
- Maintaining top spot, volume servers contributed $2.8 billion to the EMEA market and gained 9.8 percentage points on the corresponding quarter in 2013. 4Q14 was not kind to high-end enterprise servers, which reported a 32.3% YoY decrease in vendor revenue, with not much separating them from midrange enterprise servers in terms of spending.
- Rack servers were the biggest influencer in EMEA in 4Q14, reporting 8.15% YoY growth in vendor revenue and 7.8% unit growth, for $2.1 billion in vendor revenue and 34,000 units shipped into the EMEA market in 3Q14.

EMEA Server Product Revenue, 4Q13-4Q14 ($M)
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About IDC Central Europe GmbH

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

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