If the server market is an indicator of the health – or lack thereof – of the global economy, then we're not quite out of the woods of the Great Recession, despite the exuberance on the global stock markets. According to the box counters at Gartner, server revenue worldwide were down 5 points to $11.83bn in the first quarter …
Maybe the Motorway is Wide Enough?
After the big move to virtualization in the past few years, maybe enterprises are finding that they can run a lot more on a lot less. Particularly with the ability to move compute loads now on the fly meaning you can run your infrastructure closer to your chosen utilization levels without service impact.
That, and "the cloud" starting to take off with Amazon and Microsoft services, business's only need to replace EoL tin rather than adding new.
Re: Maybe the Motorway is Wide Enough?
Maybe though the public clouds in general drive utilization down instead of up, since the statistic that got people into virtualization in the first place (average utilization of systems running at trivially low numbers) really hasn't changed. The fixed provisioning of most of the public clouds is very wasteful, and thus should contribute to higher server #s.
My organization has decided instead of increasing our somewhat meagre physical server count it makes a lot more sense to just double the memory(to 384G/server). Like most folks we are memory constrained not CPU. We could probably quadruple the memory(if the systems supported that) and not run out of CPU.
I sure as hell wouldn't be running 384Gigs of memory on something that didn't have HP Advanced ECC (or IBM's Chipkill) memory protection.
Unix the new Mainframe?
It looks like the migration towards cheap COTS is accelerating fast. The average system prices quoted make the case.
I expect the gap between the ODM no-frills x86 and the "traditional" units from Dell, IBM and HP will be partly reduced by ODMs opening up a volume channel in the US for public/private cloudy systems.
The Federal Government is moving to cloud systems too. This will take away a chunk of the mainframe business.
All in all, bad news for hardware pushers.
Re: Unix the new Mainframe?
Those ODMs in many cases already have channels, there's probably thousands of companies selling white box supermicro and tyan stuff around the world.
It seems unlikely that the big guys that Facebook and the like buy from would be able to compete much to make it worth their while against the likes of Supermicro. The margins are already rock bottom, so the only way to make up for it is massive volumes.. the customers that need such volumes already know how to get in touch with the right folks (and the recent article el reg had about a big hosting company that has direct purchasing through supermicro as well is another sign).
The one exception would be perhaps the folks pitching the open compute form factor things. Though I think the number of customers that will go for that will be very limited outside of hyperscale sorts.
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