Boosted by stronger than expected demand for Intel x86 systems running Linux, the western European server market has made a "promising" start to 2004.
According to analyst IDC's latest European Server Tracker, the increasing role of Linux in both commercial and technical workload translated into 41.5 per cent annual revenue growth for Linux servers in western Europe.
Overall, Linux servers accounted for 15.1 per cent of server shipments and 7.1 per cent of server revenue in western Europe in the first quarter of 2004.
The x86 server segment led the recovery in the European server market, growing 23.2 per cent year on year.
Recently-launched 64-bit extensions to 32-bit architecture had a promising start, showing 69 per cent growth in unit shipments over the previous quarter.
Although this category accounted for less than two per cent of the total x86 market shipment in the first three months of the year, IDC expects this space to expand rapidly by 2005.
Overall the market enjoyed 7.7 per cent year-on-year growth in the first quarter with overall shipments of 371,000 units. This follows two consecutive quarters marked by positive growth.
But the analyst firm pointed out that the weak dollar has continued to play an important part in this ongoing European server spending rebound.
Had the dollar exchange rate remained constant throughout the year, the recorded growth would have turned slightly negative, IDC estimated.
"Server technologies and trends such as IT consolidation are leading the way to recovery," said Daniel Fleischer, senior analyst with IDC's European server group, in a statement.
"We see a great opportunity from the vendor and customer perspective for x86 servers, Linux and Windows servers, as well as server blades, all of which are fostering new deployments of IT infrastructure."
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