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Server sales and shipments jumped again in the second quarter, with IBM topping the revenue chart and Hewlett-Packard Co. shipping the most units, according to a report issued Wednesday by analyst firm Gartner Inc.

Worldwide server revenue grew to more than $11.5 billion in the quarter, a 7.7 percent increase over the same period in 2003, said Gartner, in Stamford, Conn. More than 1.6 million servers were shipped, a 24.5 percent jump over the same period, the firm said.

“Overall, each region showed positive year-over-year growth in terms of revenue,” Gartner analyst Mike McLaughlin said in a prepared statement. “We also saw increased activity in the x86-64 market, as well as continued strong sales in the low-end server market.”

The x86-64 space includes systems powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 64-bit Opteron processor, which also can run 32-bit applications. Intel Corp. in June began shipping Nocona, the first of its Xeon processors to offer 64-bit extensions.

eWEEK Labs pits an x86 64-bit AMD server against an Intel one. Find out how they fared.

All the top-tier vendors saw revenues grow in the quarter. IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., again led the pack, with more than $3.5 billion in revenue, a 10.8 percent jump in revenue. IBM was followed by HP and Sun Microsystems Inc., which saw revenues grow 4.3 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas, saw the strongest revenue growth, at 20.1 percent, to grow to $1.13 billion.

Regarding shipments, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., moved 463,489 units, a 22.7 percent increase. Dell, which in recent quarters has shown the strongest unit shipment growth, shipped 337,994 units, an increase of 29.2 percent.

However, it was Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., that showed the most growth in shipments, moving 90,487 units for a 38.4 percent increase. Sun was helped by increasing demand for its Netra systems for the telecommunications industry and a jump in the sales of high-end SPARC/Solaris servers to financial institutions.

In February, Sun began an aggressive push into the x86 market with the release of the two-way Sun Fire V20z, powered by Opteron. Since then, the company has released a four-way system as well, and is working on an eight-way system and blade server. During its latest quarterly earnings call, Sun officials said shipments of Opteron-based servers grew 115 percent, but were still a small part of Sun’s overall financial picture.

The x86-64 space, while still small, saw revenues grow 2,183 percent. The x86-32 space, dominated by Intel Architecture, grew 10 percent, with revenues increasing to more than $5.1 billion in the quarter.

Linux proved to be the fastest growing server operating system, with revenue growing 54.6 percent and shipments jumping 61.6 percent. Linux is now 9.5 percent of the overall server OS space, according to Gartner.

Microsoft Corp.’s Windows OS was 34.4 percent of the market in revenues, while Unix continued to decline, with revenues dropping 4.3 percent and its market share decreasing by more than four points, Gartner said.

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