Say what you will about the global economy or virtualization's impact on the server market -- IDC says demand remains strong.
The market research firm reports that the worldwide server market grew 3.5 percent to $13 billion in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, marking the eighth consecutive quarter of growing sales. In fact, this was the strongest first quarter since 2001. Unit shipments grew a healthy 7.8 percent year-on-year for the quarter
If there are any dark clouds in the first quarter numbers, it's that volume systems revenue slowed a bit to only 5.4 percent growth, the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2006. The mid-range enterprise market declined 7.2 percent for the quarter, although high-end enterprise revenue gained 9.7 percent.
IDC also reports that HP and IBM are in a statistical dead heat in market share, with HP gathering 29 percent to IBM's 28.1 percent, even though that does represent a 0.2 percent gain for HP vs. a 0.4 percent loss for IBM. Dell gained the number 3 spot with a 12.3 percent share, followed by Sun at 10.5 percent and Fujitus-Siemens with 6.3 percent.