Additional server data emerged Friday, this time from IDC, showing IBM (IBM) - Get Report extending its leading market share to 33.3% of global revenue in 2004, up from 32.1% in the previous year. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Report, Sun Microsystems (SUNW) - Get Report, and Dell (DELL) - Get Report followed IBM.

Overall, the server market grew 5.1% in the fourth quarter and 6.2% for all of 2004. IDC said low-end servers were gaining momentum, with servers priced under $25,000 logging revenue growth in the fourth quarter, while midrange and high-end servers both declined in dollars.

"Volume servers are being deployed in rich configurations, and in scale-our cluster configurations, to take on a wider range of enterprise workloads," said Matthew Eastwood, vice president at IDC, according to a statement.

"This trend towards modularization shows that customers are also increasingly embracing blade computing and both scale-out and scale-up server virtualization technologies as they refresh and expand their IT infrastructures," Eastwood said.

H-P recorded share of 26.6% in 2004, down from 27.1% in 2003; Sun's share shrunk to 10.5% from 11.6%, and Dell expanded its share in 2004 to 9.5% from 9%.

Areas of particular growth included sales of blade servers, which doubled to eclipse $1.1 billion in 2004, and Linux servers, which eclipsed $1 billion in quarterly sales for the second consecutive quarter, IDC said.

On Tuesday, Gartner

released its server data for the fourth quarter and full year 2004.