Users' increased need for scalable SMP (symmetrical multiprocessing) systems boosted the Unix-dominated midrange server market to $US17.6 billion in 1998, according to research by International Data Corp (IDC).
The demands of database servers and Internet-based application workloads grew the market at a rate of about 5 per cent for the year, according to Lloyd Cohen, research director for the market researcher's commercial systems and servers group.
For 1999, Cohen said he expects the market to grow at a rate of 7 per cent, with a growth in e-commerce activities contributing to stimulating demand for midrange servers. In the next year, IDC sees vendors investing research and development funds to add high-end, mainframe technologies to their 64-bit Unix environments. These technologies include clustering, with further availability and scalability enhancements, such as support for eight or more nodes; partitioning, to support mixed operating systems or just to provide a testing facility within the installed production environment; and Fibre Channel support.
RISC Unix platforms still dominate, representing 67 per cent of the market, IDC's research showed. IBM led the market in 1998 with a 28 per cent share of revenue, totalling $US4.9 billion, the company's S70 Raven server accounting for a growing percentage of RS/6000 product line revenues.
In second place with 23 per cent of the market, Hewlett-Packard boosted its revenue over 1997 by 35 per cent with a total of $US4.1 billion in this segment.
Sun Microsystems took third place; IDC characterised the vendor as having a "tremendous year" during which it increased its market share to 13 per cent from 1997's 9 per cent. Sun's revenue for this segment was $US2.3 billion. IDC credited Sun with improving the performance of its midrange line with the introduction of UltraSparc II and the use of technology from its high-end E10000.