Computer users are…cutting the cost of buying and maintaining servers and reducing energy bills needed to keep them running. But the trend — exploiting software that uses a technique called “virtualization” — could be starting to take a toll on computer makers.
There was a surprising slowdown in unit sales of x86 servers in the fourth quarter, according to two prominent research firms, Gartner Inc. and IDC. For example, IDC found that sales grew just 1.1% to 1.85 million units, compared with 8.8% growth in the third quarter. That is the worst performance for the market segment since the dot-com bust, and IDC analyst Matt Eastwood lays the blame largely on virtualization.
“It’s a fact,” agrees Thomas Bittman, a Gartner analyst. Though companies will still buy servers, virtualization “is absolutely going to have a slowing effect” on server sales.