As the worldwide demand for servers spike, Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise continue to battle for global server market share supremacy. When combined, HPE and Dell owned one-third of the nearly US$21 billion worldwide server market.
The global server market jumped 12 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2021, reaching US$20.9 billion, according to new data from IT market research firm IDC. Additionally, worldwide server shipments grew 8.3 percent year over year to around 2.8 million server units shipped.
“The considerable increase of server investments during the quarter [was] buoyed by global economic tailwinds along with increased investments targeting the modernization of business applications, data center infrastructure, and IT operations,” said Paul Maguranis, senior research analyst for Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies at IDC, in a statement.
In terms of server market segments, sales of volume servers in the first quarter were up 15 percent to US$17.3 billion year over year, while midrange server revenue declined 3 percent to US$2.4 billion. Growth in high-end server revenue was flat at US$1.2 billion.
IDC declares a statistical tie when two or more vendors are within 1 percentage point of each other. In this case, two companies tied for third place in terms of server market share in the first quarter of 2021.
No. 5: IBM
Market Share: 5.3%
IBM generated a total of US$1.11 billion in server sales during the first quarter, up a whopping 29 percent year over year. The large revenue growth helped elevate IBM’s server market share from 4.6 percent in first quarter 2020 to 5.3 percent share in the first quarter of 2021.
In terms of the number of servers IBM shipped, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company did not rank in the top six vendors, meaning IBM shipped less than 110,000 units during the quarter.
It is key to note that IBM and Inspur have a joint venture around Inspur Power Systems, with IDC reporting server revenue from Inspur Power Systems included in Inspur’s market share.
No. 3 (Tied): Lenovo
Market Share: 6.9%
The PC giant’s new Infrastructure Solutions Group has been on fire as of late. Lenovo generated US$1.44 billion in server sales in the first quarter of 2021, up 35 percent year over year. No other server company in the world is growing server revenues as fast as Lenovo, according to IDC data. The spike in server sales enabled Lenovo to grow its market share from 5.7 percent share in the first quarter of 2020 to 6.9 percent server share today.
In terms of the number of servers shipped globally, the Hong Kong-based company – whose U.S. headquarters is in Raleigh, N.C. – sold a total of 169,500 server units in the quarter, up nearly 10 percent compared to 154,500 units one year ago.
Lenovo recently delivered a record-breaking fourth fiscal quarter with total revenue skyrocketing 48 percent to US$15.6 billion. Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group, which includes servers, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure, grew 32 percent year over year to US$1.6 billion.
No. 3 (Tied): Inspur
Market Share: 7.2%
China-based Inspur captured a total of US$1.51 billion in server revenue in the first quarter, up 10 percent year over year. However, even with the strong sales growth Inspur’s worldwide global market share dropped from 7.4 percent share in first quarter 2020 to 7.2 percent server share.
Inspur ranks third in terms of the total number of servers unit shipped in the first quarter by shipping 222,600 servers, up 2.6 percent year over year. Inspur’s server shipment market share currently stands at 8 percent on a global basis.
IBM and Inspur have a joint venture around Inspur Power Systems, with IDC including server sales from Inspur Power Systems in Inspur’s market share.
Inspur has been gaining data center momentum in terms of being a top server and storage system provider for public cloud infrastructure.
No. 2: Hewlett Packard Enterprise/H3C
Market Share: 15.9%
Infrastructure giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise was the second largest provider of severs in the world as HPE and Dell Technologies continued their battle for global server supremacy. Although HPE grew server sales faster than Dell in the first quarter, HPE lost the fight this quarter to Dell who was 1.1 percent market share points ahead of the company.
HPE’s market share in the first quarter reached 15.9 percent, up from 15.5 percent year over year. The Houston, Texas-based company generated US$3.32 billion in server sales, representing an increase of 15 percent year over year compared to US$2.89 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
In terms of the amount of server units shipped, HPE sold 405,200 units in the first quarter, representing a 7.3 percent increase year over year. HPE ranks second in terms of the number of servers shipped worldwide, winning 14.5 percent market share.
Due to the existing joint venture between HPE and H3C, IDC reports market share for HPE and H3C togethers as HPE/H3C. China-based Tsinghua Holdings owns a 51 percent stake in H3C, while HPE owns approximately 49 percent.
HPE is investing heavily in its server, software and as-a-service technology and go-to-market partnership with Nutanix.
No. 1: Dell Technologies
Market Share: 17%
Dell Technologies is once again the worldwide market share leader in servers. The US$94 billion Round Rock, Texas-based global IT infrastructure leader won the gold medal in the first quarter of 2021 by generating US$3.56 billion in server revenue, up 2.4 percent year over year.
Dell was also the world leader in the number of server units shipped with a total of 489,000 servers sold in the first quarter, up 3.2 percent year over year compared to 474,000 shipped in the first quarter of 2020. Approximately 17.5 percent of all servers shipped across the globe were from Dell.
Dell’s server innovation engine is reaching an all-time high this year. In March, Dell launched one of its biggest server launches in history with more than a dozen new PowerEdge servers packed with the newest Intel and AMD chips and new software features.
Market Share: 31.7 percent
Original design manufacturers (ODMs) accounted for the largest market share for server revenue, although IDC combines all ODMs in terms of server revenue share and total shipments. ODMs manufacture and design servers that are later rebranded by other companies for sale.
The group of ODMs generated US$5.49 billion billion in server revenue, an increase of 13.7 percent year over year compared with US$4.83 billion in server sales in the first quarter of 2020. These ODMs captured 26.3 percent share of the total server market in the first quarter, up from 25.9 percent year over year.
When combining ODM server vendor shipments, the group shipped a total of 887,500 servers in the first quarter, up 15 percent year over year. Roughly one-third of all servers shipped globally in the quarter were from ODMs.