Emerging markets and the need for more storage helped push server revenue higher in the third quarter, with market leader Hewlett Packard retaining the lead.

HP retained its top position as the lead server vendor in terms of shipments, moving 20.2% more units than a year ago, and finished the quarter with a 26.5% share.

Rival IBM, while third in terms of shipments, came out ahead with higher revenue. The company's shipments fell by just under 4% to 14.4% of the market , while the company's overall market share in terms of shipments dropped by just under 2%.

Overall, shipments for the quarter increased by 8.7 percent over the previous year to 2.2 million units, shaking off a number of adverse factors.

Underlying market dynamics such as growth from emerging markets, coupled with an ongoing demand for increased capacity, are stronger than any inhibitors such as server virtualization, Gartner analyst Errol Rasit said in a statement. Any implications from financial market instability were not visible in the server market in the third quarter.

Virtualization allows companies to run multiple operating systems on a single server, pushing servers closer towards their capacities, and allowing firm's to consolidate server purchases.

Revenues climbed by 2.6% to $13.4 billion for the quarter.

Dell continued to show steady progress after struggling for months. The company enjoyed its second quarter of shipment growth, with sales increasing 5.4%. The company's market share in terms of shipments rose 0.7%.