Server shipments may be down overall in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (“EMEA” as a unit), but those that are being shipped are increasingly of the virtualized sort.
Virtualization brings flexibility and cost savings, among other benefits, and the server industry is starting to reflect the advantages of virtualized server environments.
Roughly 33 percent of all new servers shipped in the EMEA region during the fourth quarter of 2013 were virtualized, according to a recent IDC (News - Alert) report, with a total of 200,300 new virtual servers coming online in the fourth quarter. This is up from 30 percent from a year ago.
Virtualization licenses distributed this quarter grew year-over-year by 12 percent to 282,300, while EMEA virtualization software revenue increased even more significantly by 14.2 percent to $456.3 million.
Physical server shipments were slightly down in the fourth quarter, according to IDC, declining .03 percent year-over-year and totaling 606,400 new units.
“Although the server hardware market is stagnating, virtualization efforts are continuing across our region," said Andreas Olah, research analyst for the enterprise server group at IDC EMEA. “Many smaller businesses have already embraced these technologies, and the virtualization topic is maturing. This is evident from the fact that discussions in European organizations have moved on from initial approaches that focused mainly on hypervisor choice towards management and automation tools that let virtual machines move seamlessly between servers, and even between clouds in a hybrid model.”
VMware continues to be the market leader in server virtualization, according to IDC, with 52 percent of the market. Microsoft (News - Alert) trails behind with 33 percent of the server virtualization market, with the rest made up of Citrix, Parallels and others.
“The leading virtualization vendors are aggressively pushing holistic stack approaches that include various tools and links to their own cloud offerings, such as VMware with its software-defined datacenter model with vCloud Hybrid Service, and Microsoft's extensive Cloud OS framework,” Olah added. “Although clients were initially overwhelmed by the complexity of these approaches, their value proposition is becoming better understood, which drives wider adoption of these types of holistic solutions.”
Unsurprisingly, emerging markets are adopting virtualization fastest since they have less existing infrastructure and in many cases are leaping over several generations of technology in their attempt to catch up with regions that are more established.
“Server virtualization in Central and Eastern Europe is still developing at lower rates than in Western Europe, due to widespread usage of entry-level dedicated single-socket tower servers for only one or two applications without using virtualization technology", said Mohamed Hefny, senior research analyst of systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC CEMA. “At the same time, virtualization rates for the Middle East and Africa are comparable to levels seen in Western Europe, as the region is known to take leaps to the latest technologies and is catching up with the latest trends, while skipping several steps in between.”
Western Europe leads the way in server virtualization in the region, with a 33.8 adoption rate in the fourth quarter. Despite a 3.3 percent contraction in server shipments in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa also saw a 10.3 percent growth rate in virtualized servers year-over-year.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson