Businesses in Europe continue to hold back on datacentre spending

Server shipments in Europe have declined every quarter for almost two years as businesses continue to defer datacentre spending, according to figures from analyst house Gartner

Despite the slightly improved outlook for European economies, companies in the region are still not spending on datacentres – with server shipments down for the seventh quarter in a row.

Server shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the second quarter of 2013 stood at 550,000, a fall of 5.9 percent from the same period last year, according to estimates from analyst house Gartner.

European companies are still reluctant to spend on server refreshes, Gartner research director Adrian O'Connell said.

"The European market is more driven by traditional demand from enterprises and in the enterprise space there is still a constrained set of budgets for datacentre spend," he said.

The fall in server shipments across Europe contrasts with a four percent rise in shipments worldwide, according to Gartner. The difference stems largely from Europe having relatively few technology companies of the size of Google and Facebook in the US or Tencent and Baidu in China to compensate for weak server demand from enterprises, said O'Connell.

"Across Europe you do not tend to have the same class of companies," he said "there is the service provider class in Europe but it is not quite the same scale."

Server revenue for the EMEA totaled $3.1bn in the quarter, a decline of 4.6 percent from the same quarter last year. All three EMEA sub-regions saw server revenue decrease in the second quarter of 2013. In Western Europe, revenue declined 1.6 percent, in Eastern Europe it fell 17.9 percent and in the Middle East and Africa it decreased 9 percent.

"This was the seventh consecutive quarter for shipment decline and the eighth consecutive quarter for revenue decline, showing an even more sustained period of weakness than the one we saw during the economic downturn that began in 2008," said O'Connell.

When analysed by server type the only section of the market where revenue increased was in the "Other" category, up 44.3 percent year on year, which O'Connell said had been driven by mainframe platform refreshes. x86 server revenue fell by 4.7 percent, while RISC/Itanium Unix revenue dropped by 22.6 percent.