A price war has developed
on the server front after multinationals faced competition from original design manufacturers (ODMs) that make the machines.
Over the last year or so, companies such as Quanta Computer have undercut Dell and HP and won big orders from the likes of Google and Amazon.
reports that HP is fighting back by striking a deal with giant Taiwanese combo Foxconn to offer cut price X86 servers to customers.
Meanwhile, Dell has struck a deal with Microsoft to offer cloud based systems in a bid to sell private cloud data centres.
But while the news might be good for enterprises looking to pay less for their X86 servers, it can’t be good news for margins.
And Intel, which supplies the majority of microprocessors that power servers, must be worrying about an effect it may have on its margins.
Apple and Samsung
were the biggest buyers of semiconductors in 2014.
Together, they bought $57.9 billion worth of chips last year, up by $3.9 billion in 2013, according to Gartner.
In terms of the total market for semiconductor, both companies’ accounted for 17 percent of the total market.
Gartner said the two firms have been top of the semiconductor consumption market for four years in a row.
That, said analyst Masatsune Yamajo, means decisions they make “have considerable technology and pricing implications for the whole semiconductor industry”.
Samsung was still top buyer but its decision to withdraw from some parts of the PC market as well as losing market share to other vendors meant its growth rate wasn’t as great as in the past.
Gartner estimates that the top 10 companies bought $125.6 billion of semiconductors, accounting for 36.4 percent of the whole market in 2014.
After Samsung and Apple, the remaining eight top ten buyers were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Sony, Huawei, Cisco, LG Electronics and Toshiba.
The entire semiconductor market worldwide amounted to $339.9 billions last year.
Sales of PCs
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by two percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Although that’s hardly a stellar figure, Western Europe showed better results with growth of 10.7 percent.
In all, shipments amounted to 93.3 million units.
IDC’s report said that the market grew because of healthier shipments to ordinary people in the quarter, with vendors stocking up for Christmas and January sales.
Next month, there will be Microsoft promotions which will bring prices down on notebooks with less than 15-inch screens.
HP, and Lenovo dominated the market place, with shares of 23.3 percent and 19.6 percent respectively.
Dell has 9.8 percent share in EMEA, followed by Acer, Asus and “others”.
Sales of notebooks
during the fourth quarter of 2014 amounted to 46 million units.
That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said in a report that shipments were flat compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Of the notebooks shipped, Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) shipped 36.6 million, representing nearly 80 percent of the total marketplace.
ODMs make notebooks which are then rebranded by multinationals or sold as so called “white boxes”.
The chief ODMs were Quanta with 33 percent, Compal with 31.4 percent, Wistron with 15.8 percent, Inventec with 7.5 percent and Pegatron with 6.9 percent.
Digitimes Research said HP was the number one vendor in the quarter with 23 percent market share, Lenovo second, Dell third, Asustek fourth, Acer fifth, Apple sixth, Toshiba seventh, Samsung eighth and Fujitsu ninth.
Insurers with a worldwide
presence are set to spend over $100 billion this year on IT. That will gladden the hearts of vendors.
This is the view of IDC Financial Investments, which says that the number is an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2014.
The global insurers want to spend this money to boost “efficiencies”, meaning that they will invest in data warehousing, claims and policy administration systems.
Li-May Chew, lead director for IDC’s Financial Insights division, said that the insurers need to act.
She said: “Replacements or refreshes are required as legacy IT systems become increasingly complex, inflexible and archaic, to the point of negatively affecting technology integration and interoperability.”
In other words, they’re out of date.
The insurers want to modernise their systems and use the cloud to cut costs – and customers want the insurers to do that too.
They want to make sure their customers use PCs, mobile devices and social networks.
They need to protect themselves against fraud.
Li-May didn’t say which vendors would benefit from the increased spend – but the emphasis is on mobile computing, cloud services, social networking and big data analytics.
So the usual suspects – that is to say IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle and others will be sitting patiently waiting for the phone to ring so they can pick up the orders.
Shipments of PCs
during any fourth quarter used to be strong until two years ago.
But figures released by Gartner said that worldwide PC shipments grew by a miserly one percent during the last quarter of 2014.
Shipments amounted to 83.7 million units and analysts at the company think the results are a “slow but consistent improvement after two years of decline”.
Tablets had been responsible for displacing PCs but that peaked in 2013 and the first half of last year.
People are drifting back to PCs, said Gartner, although different regions showed different results.
The US market showed the highest growth and the European region was strong too.
Lenovo is now the worldwide leader in shipments with 19.4 percent of the market, followed by HP and Dell. Acer and Asus were fourth and fifth.
HP showed growth of 16 percent in the quarter, while Lenovo’s growth slowed.
The chief driver for sales were mobile PCs including thin and light. Prices around the $300 mark helped boost sales.
A report said
that integrated infrastructure and platforms – that is to say vendor systems containing servers, disk storage, networking kit and systems management software – grew by 38 percent in the third quarter of last year.
IDC said vendors turned in revenues of $616 million in the quarter, a year on year growth of 38.2 percent for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in the quarter.
Eckhardt Fisher, research analyst at IDC, said the growth is linked to fast spreading adoption of business intelligence systems and the perceived benefit to enterprises that brings.
The market leader for the integrated infrastructure division saw VCE as the leader, followed by Cisco-Netapp, and then HP.
Cisco grew its share by close to 163 percent for the quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2013.
VCE also took prime position in the integrated platforms sector, followed by Cisco-Netapp and HP. But here HP belonged strongly – growing by 271 percent in the quarter.
The entire market for the third quarter shipped 238 terabytes – up 63.5 percent compared to Q3 2013.
Manufacturers of X86
based servers are taking market share from intermediary companies such as Dell and HP.
And, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, that trend is sure to increase.
It reports that Taiwanese manufacturers Quanta and Wiwynn will sell more servers to big users during 2015.
The main motivation for the move away from companies like HP is that the boxes are cheaper to source from manufacturers than through middlemen.
And as the trend to data centres continues to grow, companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Google will seek to cut costs and establish cloud data centres by directly sourcing product.
that Quanta’s direct business for servers now represents 90 percent of its business, while only 10 percent are shipped to third parties.
Despite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
HP’s storage marketer Craig Nunes has said that the cost of flash storage to fall below that of spinning-disk storage within the next couple of years and widescale adoption is starting to rise.
Nunes said that if you can get the affordability right on flash, if you can drive it down and cross over spinning disk, people will buy it.
Flash is a far better alternative because it is faster and has better service levels and HP’s efforts to improve the cost-efficiency of its arrays are paying off.
The maker of expensive printer ink has shipped more flash capacity over the last few quarters than it has 15,000 RPM disks. These disks have historically been the medium of choice for mission-critical applications requiring fast storage. Now HP wants Flash to outsell its 10,000 RPM business and this could become a reality in a year.
An average enterprise should have the ability to deploy flash for more workloads without having to cut corners elsewhere.
Nunes said HP is also working on ways to make flash more scalable. The company’s flagship all-flash array, the 3PAR StoreServ 7450, offers 480 terabytes of raw storage capacity that can accommodate nearly 1.4 petabytes of data thanks to built-in optimization software.
Nunes said that HP’s 3PAR operating system also includes functionality that avoids the performance degradation all-flash arrays tend to suffer past a certain capacity threshold.
HP recently introduced a new add-on for its 3PAR arrays called Personas that make it possible for admins to change how information is exposed to applications with a few straightforward commands.
Personas evolved from virtualization technology with the kind of functionality and management features that users expect when managing servers. “Personas is not an emulation layer, it is not a management UI over a totally different architecture,” he said. “It’s the same thing that served up your VMware environments and KVM environments except it’s now serves up” blocks and files.
It looks like shareholders are not allowed to collude with HP board members to blame its god-awful Autonomy buy on the British company after all.
Shareholders and HP agreed to bury the hatchet so that they could sue the former owners of Autonomy. US district judge has said that such a deal was wrong because it absolves HP completely from any blame.
Judge Charles Breyer concluded in a San Francisco court filing that the shareholders appear to be relinquishing a whole universe of potential claims regarding HP governance and practices with no factual predicates that overlap the Autonomy acquisition – the subject of this litigation.
He rejected the motion for preliminary approval of the second amended settlement. Judge Breyer added that HP had abdicated its duty to ensure that shareholders’ rights were being protected.
HP bought UK data search and analysis firm Autonomy for $10 billion, but a year later it claimed it found “serious accounting improprieties” and had to write off $8.8bn from the transaction.
Autonomy has denied any wrongdoing and argued that it played by the rules and HP knew about its accounting practices prior to the buyout.
HP said it was disappointed the court did not approve the settlement as submitted, the court recognised that a settlement releasing the HP directors and officers from Autonomy-related claims ‘represents a fair and reasonable resolution of the litigation’ HP remains committed to holding the architects of the Autonomy fraud accountable.
A report said that increased production by major Chinese vendors will topple US players from their grip on the server market.
Digitimes said that Lenovo, Huawei and Inspur are likely to ship a total of two million units in 2015, knocking Dell off the number two slot.
Earlier this year, Lenovo bought IBM’s X86 business and that means the company is likely to ship a million server boxes in 2015.
Meanwhile HP, the market intelligence firm said, will show a decline in server shipments of 10 percent this year.
By the end of next year, the combined shipments worldwide from Chinese vendors is likely to amount to nearly 20 percent.
Meanwhile, the multinationals are threatened by ODMs (original design manufacturers) like Quanta, which are squeezing the Dells and HPs of this world by selling units direct at a knockdown price.
The move towards thin clients has slackened after some growth prompted by Microsoft’s decision to deck Windows XP support.
IDC said shipments of terminal clients and thin clients amounted to 1.35 million units in the third quarter of this year, falling by 1.8 percent and bucking predictions.
While Windows XP made some move from PCs to thin clients, public projects were delayed and that accounts for the slippage.
Thin clients represent a massive 97 percent of enterprise client devices. Within the thin client umbrella, those without operating systems – so called zero clients – still hold 24.6 percent share.
The winners in the thin client race for the third quarter are HP, Dell, Ncomputing, Centerm and Igel. Of these, Dell saw growth of 16.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year, while Ncomputing’s share slumped by 44.7 percent. HP more or less held its own although its share fell 4.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
The generation of vast amounts of data continues to fuel the disk storage systems revenue in the third quarter.
With revenues of $8.8 billion, up 5.1 percent from the same period last year, 25 exabytes shipped in the quarter, said IDC. Capacity shipments soared by 42 percent during the quarter, compared to Q3 2013.
IDC said sub $100K external array revenues grew by over six percent during the quarter, but shipments ODMs (original design manufacturers) directly to hyperscale datacentres showed positive growth.
EMC remains at the top spot for the quarter, followed by HP, Dell, IBM and Netapp.
ODM direct sales accounted for 24 percent of the market however, outstripping the traditional vendors. And this trend is continuing, as we’ve reported previously, with ODMs also shipping more and more servers directly and bypassing the brand names,
Strong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.
That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.
All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.
The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up. And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.
Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.