Apple orders white box servers from Taiwan for data centre refresh

Report hints at bad news for branded server-makers as Cupertino cranks up bit barns

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Apple's future bit barns look to be built around white box servers from Taiwan, according to a Digitimes report.

The Taiwanese outlet notes that Apple recently clambered aboard the Open Compute Project, and says local white-box server makers have recently received orders from Cupertino. Those orders are to replace servers in current bit barns, but Apple is going white box with a view to filling racks in the new data centres it's building in Arizona and Europe.

There's also a suggestion that the new servers are needed because once IBM's enterprise apps for iPads emerge Apple will need more back end grunt to deliver the right experience.

Apple's a cost-concious company and would surely want its bit barn investments to yield the densest-possible rigs. The company's reputed current suppliers – Dell and HP – have fine data centre kit but don't emphasise hyperscale to the same degree as the Open Compute crowd. If Digitimes is right – and it often is – it shows Apple is catching up with other hyperscale operators, rather than innovating in its own right. It also shows just how hard existing enterprise server-makers have to fight to be hyperscale contenders, and perhaps that they'll struggle to win. ®

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