back to article White-box slingers, Chinese server makers now neck-and-neck with US tech giants

An analyst poring over IDC’s fourth 2016 quarter server stats has found that Cisco is slipping, and white-box manufacturers and China-based vendors are overtaking the historically dominant US server suppliers. Here is a server shipment market share snapshot in the fourth 2016 quarter using IDC numbers: Dell – 21 per cent. …

Isn't the interesting bit missing here?

Namely, Facebook's, Amazon's, Google's, Microsoft's asf custom datacenter servers & equipment?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Isn't the interesting bit missing here?

No, because they practically build their own boxes, they are not part of the normal server market. They are closer to some kind of embedded systems market.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_computing_hardware

You could try and count the open server project footprint vs the "off the shelf" server market footprint, that would be interesting. Also of interest is this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Compute_Project

Where we see some familiar faces; Cisco, Dell, Lenovo...

Q: So, what can we make of all this?

A: Data centers need servers of either type. If you have the bucks, you can go with open compute systems and do all your maintenance in-house. If not, you buy an off-the-shelf server and bundle it with support, or not. Or just forego any hardware and build out in a cloud service. So many options to go with. The trick is picking the one that works for the business' needs.

I don't need to count which ones are which, I'll see them when I start supporting them, and the results will be the same.

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Re: Isn't the interesting bit missing here?

@AC

They're not part of "the normal server market" sales-wise, but functionally they certainly are. It's as if in 1910 analysts carefully followed the buggy-making companies, but ignored the auto makers.

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Silver badge

Re: Isn't the interesting bit missing here?

I would count that as ODM market share. Though would be nice to see the various ODMs themselves broken out into market share, and not lump everyone in with "other".

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Re: Isn't the interesting bit missing here?

@Nate

That's what I thought at first, but the story's hyperlink to the description of who's "ODM" seems in my reading to exclude the own-design custom servers the big cloud folks are running.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Has anyone thought about automation?

Does China have more than cheap labour?

Am I the only one who finds it strange that no-one has automated server production? Why do we still do system designs which need human beings to plug bits in? Has no-one thought, "Hmm, maybe if we had slots instead of pins, we might be able to take the humans out of the loop and put these things together with robots." Even if you need a bendy cable, the circuit boards are precisely shaped, so getting a robot to plug in a connector shouldn't be that difficult.

If we built them using robots, wouldn't we pretty much nullify the cheap labour advantage?

My pet theory is that the multinationals like being multinational because they can shift profit around as required and play governments off against each other. It doesn't have a great deal to do with cheaper resources per se, though that helps too. No large company wants to be resident in only one country.

Is China's rise merely a reflection of the decline of the West's consumption of IT and people are just sticking with local companies in both parts of the world?

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Does China have more than cheap labour?

No longer cheap

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does China have more than cheap labour?

Don't worry, in two years we will be able to compete with China with the $/£ rate at $1.00/£0.20 after we get ineviatably shafted by Europe in the BREXIT talks and end up paying them £100B to get out of the EU and Sturgeon will be declared Empress of Scotland.

Our labour costs will become the envy of the world i.e. Lower than anywhere else on an exchange rated index. Companies will be rushing to invest here.

Or am I just dreaming? Yeah that's it. Better take my meds before the men in white coats come calling.

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Coat

Europe is not the one doing the shafting - you've bloody well done it to yourselves.

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The long game

The Chinese are very, very good at playing the long game. They chip away, slowly improving the until it is on par with what is deemed "Western" levels of quality. They price it low and also ensure that they will undercut the incumbents with the sole aim of taking the market. The really clever bit is they are not looking at market share and profit in 1 quarter or even a year. They are looking at 5 years, 10 years or even more.

Take engineering as another very good example. If you wanted a small lathe or milling machine you had a Myford, Boxford or Senior. Then along came the cheap, but frankly appalling far-eastern copies that were very cheap. People started to buy them because they could not afford an established brand. The quality gradually improved to the point that now, in reality they are very good. The cost has gone up a bit but they are still cheaper than the remaining established brands (that still exist). In the meantime, almost all the mainstream machinery manufacturing has disappeared. It was too expensive to build in Europe or US but also not practical to move production to the far east. The majority have folded, both the skills and manufacturing have now gone for good.

In the tech world, the items are manufactured in the China because of lower costs (labour, health and safety, environmental) as no one is prepared to pay the manufacturing costs back home. Now the Chinese are making significant inroads with their own tech, priced for the long term when traditional western manufactures have finally given up.

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STZ

Re: The long game

Not entirely true - the German machinery manufacturers are very well alive and kicking. Labour cost isn't much of a problem, the real issue is IP theft and how to protect against hackers and cloning ...

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STZ

Who's century ?

The 20th century was quite rightly called the "American Century". It's history now, and the 21st century will most likely be called the "Chinese Century". The big Donald won't be able to do anything about that (assuming he can keep his fingers off at least from that particular red button).

Why is this development logical ? Because we in the first world decided to be greedy, and to take advantage of dirt cheap Chinese labour which is/was hard to destinguish from slavery. We gave the Chinese rulers (both in the political/business sectors) all the huge money piles they are now sitting on - in return for dirt cheap products that soon went to our garbage dumps. Using that money and the talent of their people, the Chinese are now coming up with better products they can sell at higher prices, thus further improving their economy and general working/living conditions. Welcome to the Club - and it will be interesting to see how the Chinese society develops.

In this context, Brexit is just a tiny minor issue - at least to the non-Brits ...

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Tut tut... wrong picture

Oh Reg, using a Japanese temple picture for a Chinese article...

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