Well, it’s that time of the year again. Gartner has published server vendor revenue estimates for 1Q13. And for five out of six vendors, something’s not right. Let’s take a look at revenue.

Gartner Server Revenue Share Q112 vs Q113












Essentially the usual suspects, with the exception of Dell and the unknown others (including Cisco, who isn’t so unknown), had server revenue declines and share declines. For most, a painful story.

At first glance, this looks like a race to the bottom, with Dell, the traditional value player, and the cheap and cheerful Tier 3 “others” benefiting from the shift. There IS an element of that, as buyers move from expensive RISC/Unix to less expensive x86 to extend their reach while controlling their budgets.

But that doesn’t account for the entire market shift. I think this is about shifting WHERE workloads are run, as much as anything else.

Let’s face it, cloud is a disruptive force. My hunch is that ODMs plus do-it-yourselfers are accounting for the bulk of the others growth, and Dell is gaining extra benefit from their hard work on hyperscale servers. It’s common knowledge that Dell is behind some of the largest hyperscale data centers (e.g., Bing), and so are the Tier 3 others.

But perhaps I’m wrong. What do you think?