Feeds

Cloudy servers shoot to the stratosphere

Rise of the ODMs

Boost IT visibility and business value

Building out cloudy server and storage services as well as support the gazillion of apps running on iOS and Android devices has the cloudy server business absolutely exploding, say the box-counters at market researcher iSuppli.

In its just-released Compute Platforms (PDF) report, analysts Peter Lin and Matthew Wilkins say that there were 460,000 servers shipping in 2010 that were designed expressly for hyperscale infrastructure workloads that sit behind cloudy applications like those available from Google, Apple, and Amazon. That number presumably includes homegrown servers such as those which Google, Facebook, and Amazon build for themselves – or with the help of contract manufacturers. The number does not include any plain vanilla x86 or RISC servers that cloudy application and infrastructure services providers might happen to buy for their back-ends. iSuppli is counting cloudy boxes used by online app and service providers as well as cloudy boxes that enterprise customers might be installing as they move to the cutting edge and mimic public clouds with their internal operations.

These cloudy servers, sometimes a hybrid of rack and blade servers with all the unnecessary elements ripped out, will be the fastest-growing part of the server business in the coming years, according to iSuppli. The company believes that 647,000 cloud servers shipped last year, up 41 per cent from 2010's levels, and will grow another 35 per cent this year, to 875,000 units.

iSuppli cloud servers

Cloudy server shipments are expanding

iSuppli's forecast calls for cloudy server shipments to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31 per cent between 2010 and 2015, hitting 1.8 million units in 2015. This growth rate, iSuppli says, is five times faster than the overall growth of the server market worldwide, and – perhaps more significantly – will grow to account for about 15 per cent of total server shipments by 2015. If you do the math on that (which you have to since this data is inside of its for-fee report), it means iSuppli figures 9.2 million servers shipped in 2010 and is projecting that 12 million will ship in 2015. This means that over the five years the overall server market will only expand by 30.7 per cent, thus averaging 6.1 per cent per year. Cloudy server shipments over that same time will grow by an astounding factor of 3.9, according to the forecast.

What this forecast also implies is that growth for blade servers and plain vanilla rack and tower servers – which tend to be loaded up with lots of resilience and redundancy features that cloud apps don't require – will grow a lot more slowly, from 8.72 million units in 2010 to only 10.2 million units by 2015. That's only 16.7 per cent growth over those five years, which is an average growth rate of only 3.3 per cent per year.

Perhaps the most significant change in the server market is not the particular form factor or workload that will be running on top of the machines, but the source of the design and manufacturing of the machines that end user customers buy. Historically, server buyers have gone direct to the big server OEMs or their resellers, but these days – and especially with relatively low-volume, exotic, and often bespoke server designs for hyperscale data centers – companies are cutting out the tier one middlemen such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu, and others. Original design manufacturers such as Quanta and Wistron are helping companies design machines and are often building them, too. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.