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Unix' traditional dominance in the server market appears threatened by a surge in Windows' sales, says a server market survey Friday.
While global server revenue grew to $12.1 billion in the first quarter of 2005, Unix and Windows server revenue ended the quarter in a statistical tie, each generating about $4.2 billion, said IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.
"What's striking is that Windows overall is gaining so rapidly," said Jean S. Bozman, vice president for enterprise computing at IDC. "From an IT perspective, there is as much spending on Windows as there is on Unix." In previous studies of the server market, IDC had predicted Windows would overtake Unix in the market, but not until 2008.
Various flavors of Microsoft's Windows server products are selling well including Windows Server 2003, DataCenter Server, and Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, Bozman said. Quarterly revenues for Windows grew 12.3 percent and unit shipments grew 10.7 year over year, IDC said.
Unix servers grew 2.8 percent in revenue and 5.0 percent in unit growth over the same period of quarterly comparisons.
"There's still a lot of investment in Unix servers," Bozman said, noting that the Unix server market remains a growth business.
What about Linux?
Bozman noted that the Linux server business is growing more rapidly than either Windows or Unix, but the fact that its starting installed base was so low that she can't project out far enough to see Linux overtaking either Windows or Unix. IDC said that Linux servers logged year-over-year revenue growth of 35.2 percent and a 31.1 percent gain in shipments. It was the 11th consecutive quarter of double digit growth for the open source software.
"I don't believe Linux can overtake either Windows or Unix," Bozman said. Linux revenues for the quarter totaled $1.2 billion as Linux servers carved out a strong position in data centers. Hewlett-Packard held onto its first place position in the Linux server market with 27.7 percent revenue market share ahead of IBM, which was second with 19.8 percent share of the open source market.
However, IBM maintained its top ranking in overall server revenue, nailing down a 28.3 market share percentage to HP's 27.6 percent. IBM accounted for about $3.4 billion and HP $3.3 billion. Dell and Sun Microsystems followed as each recorded revenue representing about 10 percent of the market.