Unix servers lose share in 2010: Analysts

x86 gains ground as Australian businesses cut costs

Australia has led the charge in x86 server adoption, with Unix servers losing significant market share to their cheaper counterparts during 2010, according to analysts.

Statistics from market research firm Gartner indicate Reduced Instruct Set Computing (RISC) and Itanium-based Unix units dropped in local market share by 22 per cent in the third quarter compared to the same quarter in 2009.

Worldwide, Unix server market share declined by 9.5 per cent while overall shipments declined by 10 per cent. On a global level, shipments of x86 servers went up 14.9 per cent during the third quarter.

The wider Asia Pacific market, however, recorded much stronger growth for Unix units, with a 2.3 per cent increase in market share in 5.4 per cent in overall shipments during the quarter.

Gartner's principal research analyst in Singapore, Errol Rasit, said cost cutting measures among Australian companies remained the biggest reason behind Unix's loss of market share locally.

“Unix migration is something that has been happening for some years so it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored by vendors looking to sell companies new servers,” Rasit said.

IDC senior program manager, Matt Oostveen, told Computerworld Australia that IT managers would continue to eliminate complexity of systems within the business.

“CIOs are always trying to demolish silos within their infrastructure," he said. "At the moment they have very complicated environments where they have mixes of x86, Unix, mainframes and the Linux operating system. They’re trying to reduce the amount of platforms."

Despite this, Oostveen said there will still be “Unix boxes in the corner running legacy applications”.

However, in the Asia Pacific context, Rasit said CIOs in the region often prioritised Cloud computing over Unix migration due to complexity and lack of time.

Oostveen agreed but said this lack of priority raised the question on what the Unix install base is doing with ageing infrastructure.

"Migrating to Windows is very tricky so in the short to medium term we’ll see a lot of what we call 'orphaned infrastructure' in the marketplace,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags x86 serversRISC/Itanium Unix server platform

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