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IDC offers sunny forecast for servers

The researcher predicts the market will grow by 5 percent in 2004. Blade servers will be among the top sellers.

Global spending on servers during 2004 is likely to grow by 5 percent, rising to $53 billion, according to a new report from IDC.

Demand for servers rose late last year, and that momentum is likely to continue, the research company said in a report released Wednesday. As prices fell, the number of servers sold in the past three quarters grew by 20 percent compared with the same period last year, IDC said.

"There continues to be very strong growth in the x86 industry standard server market--particularly for Windows- and Linux-based solutions," said a statement from Mark Melenovsky, director of research for IDC's Global Enterprise Server Solutions division. "Growth has been strong for everything from standalone systems in small offices to several-hundred-node clusters in enterprise data centers."

IDC predicts that the server market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.8 percent to be worth $60.8 billion in 2008. In particular, the market for blade servers will grow quickly, generating $9 billion in annual revenue by 2008 and representing 29 percent of server units shipped.

Linux-based servers will account for 29 percent of unit shipments and about $9.7 billion in revenue, IDC said. Windows-based servers are projected to lead, though. They'll account for 60 percent of all server shipments and revenue of $22.7 billion.

The United States will continue to lead in terms of market share, followed by Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, the company predicts.

IDC said strong growth is likely in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Asia-Pacific region. These regions are expected to see compound annual growth rates of over 6.5 percent.