IDC is pouring cold water on Microsoft and Intel's ambitions for their new babies - Windows 2000 and IA64 - in the European server market.
Microsoft's new operating system will lose out to Risc Unix machines and Intel's new chip, Merced, will initially be out-performed by Risc chips predicts IDC in its forthcoming report Server Market Forecast 1998-2003.
"Windows 2000 will be prevented from moving into more profitable midrange markets by its newness and relatively poor reliability in comparison to Risc Unix machines," said Martin Hingley, IDC analyst.
"IDC has cut back its expectations for Intel's IA64, following Intel's delayed road map and the belief that initial chips will underperform Risc chips, when first shipped," he added.
Only moderate growth for the server market in Western Europe is predicted with a compound annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent from $18.0 billion in 1998 to $24.4 billion in 2003 in terms of customer spending. Some factors driving these sales are appliance servers, Linux and information utilities.
Hingley said that small businesses will want dedicated boxes for Web serving, file serving and firewalls. Last week IBM announced its AS/400 dedicated server for Domino and Hingley said the market will see "lots of different sorts of application servers."
Linux, the open source operating system, heralds a whole new business model for the low-end server market according to IDC.
"It appears that everyone who was loyal during NT's onslaught on Unix is now covering his or her bets by supporting Linux in one way or another," said Vernon Turner, vice president for IDC's worldwide commercial systems and servers programme.
Information utilities will take a larger proportion of server sales - continuing the trend of telcos and business service sectors demanding more servers to offer customers "in source" specific applications.
Hingley believes the provision of processing services will take over from hardware sales exploiting lower prices and shorter life cycles.
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