Rack-Optimized Server Shipments Explode During the First Quarter of 2000, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA- JULY 31, 2000 – While shipments in the overall U.S. market for standard Intel architecture servers (SIAS) declined 2% from 4Q99 to 1Q00, the rack-optimized segment of the market experienced stellar growth — 55.2% to be exact. According to IDC, this growth is even more remarkable considering the first quarter of a calendar year is historically weaker than the fourth.

"To date, 2000 has been the year of the thin system in the standard Intel architecture server space," said Mark Melenovsky, research manager for IDC's Commercial Systems and Servers program. "The explosion of Internet-related businesses and services has propagated a rapid evolution of the SIAS form factor, and dense, rack-optimized servers are emerging as one of the strongest segments for growth in the server space."

Just how strong is growth in this segment? IDC expects U.S. rack-optimized SIAS shipments to increase from fewer than 94,000 in 1999 to more than 701,000 in 2004.

"Internet-related workloads driven by service providers, dot-coms, and enterprise datacenter procurement will positively affect growth in this space during the next few years," said John Humphreys, an analyst with IDC's Commercial Systems and Servers research program.

Server vendors are paying close attention to the market's growth – and might even be triggering some of it. According to IDC, all major vendors have recently announced or will soon announce additions to their rack-optimized product lineups. However, to increase their share in this segment of the market, they will have to offer more than typical price and performance comparisons.

"Although pursuing bigger, faster, stronger comparisons will remain a key differentiator, vendors that demonstrate a total solution cost savings with respect to IS personnel, deployment time, and space will have the advantage in this market," Humphreys said.

IDC also believes vendors should avoid a one-size-fits all approach.

"Vendors that understand the different architectural requirements between different types of companies, such as Internet service providers and Web hosting companies, and custom design for each of these spaces will experience more success than those that don't," Melenovsky said.

Information like the above can be found in IDC's new bulletin, Thin Is In: Internet Infrastructure and the Opportunity for Rack-Optimized Servers (IDC #B22690). This bulletin looks at how the evolving datacenter and service provider markets are changing the landscape for standard Intel architecture servers. The bulletin compares 4Q99 and 1Q00 rack-optimized and other standard Intel architecture servers as well as rack-optimized SIAS shipments by CPU capacity. It discusses factors driving the rack-optimized SIAS market and forecasts shipments by capacity by quarter through 4Q01 and annually through 2004. To purchase the report, contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 6787 or at psteeves@idc.com.

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