IDC Predicts Dwindling Market Share For Mainframes

Blame Japan

With the release of its Worldwide Quarterly Server Forecast, market research firm IDC believes the mainframe will continue to lose market share. It predicted shrinkage for the server market overall this year.

The report issued last week indicates sales will be down 14.5% for the second quarter of this year. While IDC believes the market will grow in the second half of this year, the growth will not offset the declines earlier this year.

IDC notes that the mainframe will continue to lose importance in the overall server landscape. While the mainframe constitutes 13% of the market today, it will decline to 8% by 2006. It attributes a shift from mainframes to Unix systems in Japan as a driver of this decline.

IBM Corp., one of the leading vendors, continues to issue press releases suggesting growth for the mainframe. For example, it said it shipped its 200th z800 last week. It first began shipping the z800 March 29.

IDC is bullish on the prospects for blade servers. Although the form-factor is still in its early stages, the firm believes they will make up 20% of the server market by 2006. Blade servers address many of the problems related to managing low-end Intel servers and offer opportunities for clustering. These factors lead IDC to believe that the market segment will grow.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.