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EMEA server virtualisation on the rise

IDC figures show a third of all shipped servers to be virtual

Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa witnessed double-digit growth of 10.3% in virtual server unit shipments.
Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa witnessed double-digit growth of 10.3% in virtual server unit shipments.

Some 33% of all servers shipped in EMEA in the fourth quarter of 2013 were virtualised, a moderate increase from 30% in the year-earlier period, according to IDC's EMEA Quarterly Server Virtualisation Tracker.

Physical server shipments were flat this quarter, showing only a 0.3% decline, year on year, totaling 606,400 units. At the same time 200,300 server units were virtualised at the point of initial shipment in Q4, which is an annual increase of 9.6%. Virtualisation licenses distributed this quarter grew, year on year, by 12% to 282,300, while EMEA virtualisation software revenue increased even more significantly by 14.2% to $456.3m.

Despite the flat nature in server shipments in Q4 2013 compared with Q4 2012, the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa witnessed double-digit growth of 10.3% in virtual server unit shipments, year on year.  This reflects growing maturity in virtualisation adoption, with the aim to consolidate the infrastructure by using fewer servers to deploy more virtual machines (VMs), and exploit existing hardware capacities to a greater extent.

"Virtualisation 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," said Mohamed Hefny, senior research analyst, Systems and Infrastructure Solutions, IDC CEMA.

The EMEA server virtualisation market continues its gradual but slow shift towards the use of paid hypervisors, with paid virtualisation software now running on 83% of all new server hardware shipments virtualised in Q4 compared to 82.4% recorded in Q4 2012.

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For the full 2013, 2.2m physical servers were shipped in EMEA, representing an annual decline of 2.7%. 717,000 virtualised servers and 1m virtualisation software licenses were shipped, showing moderate-to-strong annual growth of 9.6% and 13.5%, respectively. Virtualisation software revenue reached $1.6bn, which means an increase of 14.6% on the previous year.

"Although the server hardware market is stagnating, virtualisation efforts are continuing across our region," said Andreas Olah, research analyst, Enterprise Server Group, IDC EMEA.

"Many smaller businesses have already embraced these technologies, and the virtualisation topic is maturing. This is evident from the fact that discussions in European organisations 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.

"The leading virtualisation 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. 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."