Tag: servers

X86 server market gets boost

server-racksIt’s not all bad news for Intel, which is beginning to be affected by peoples’ disinterest worldwide in buying expensive X86 notebooks.

According to IDC, the X86 server market in the middle east and Africa had significant year on year growth in the third quarter of 2013, expanding by 9.9 in volume and 10.6 percent in revenue.

The Saudi market showed year on year volume growth of 16.4 percent, but other sturdy markets included the UAE.

The Egyptian market slumped 36.6 percent because of political instability, while perhaps more surprisingly the Turkish market also showed a drop on server unit shipments of 8.8 percent compared to the same quarter in the previous year.

Morocco and Tunisia saw growth of 35.7 percent and 21.8 percent respectively and the North Africam region in toto rose by 20.4 percent in volume.

Kenya and Nigeria showed rises of 67.1 percent and 62.8 percent respectively, while South Africa saw a 6.6 percent rise year on year.

Blades were the flavour of the month in the regions surveyed, showing a market share of 30.4 percent in the overall server mix.  Dual socket servers, however, dominate the sector with 75.1 percent unit share.

ARM servers are on the rise

arm_chipThere’s more gloomy news for chip giant Intel.

A report by Digitimes Research estimates that a total of 20,000 units of ARM-based servers ship this year. And while that’s hardly made a dent in Chipzilla’s armour yet, only representing 0.2 percent of that market, that’s set to change.

By 2017 the volume will grow to 1.06 million with a CAGR of 170 percent.

ARM itself thinks that by 2016, chips based on its technology with account for five to 10 percent while that percentage will grow to 10 or 15 points by 2017.

A lot depends, according to Digitimes Research, on support from Microsoft on the Windows Server front.

Server shipments up but revenues down

IBM logoWorldwide shipments of servers only grew 1.9 percent in the third quarter of this year, but revenues fell 2.1 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Big Blue fared particularly badly.

That’s according to the Gartner Group, which said that the worldwide server market is continuing to show weak performance.

There were some bright spots – the Canadian market grew by 6.5 percent, EMEA by 12.1 percent. But the US only showed 0.9 percent growth.

On the X86 server front, units grew by only 2.1 percent year on year but 4.4 percent in revenue. RISC, Itanium and Unix servers fell by 4.5 percent in shipments and 31 percent in revenues.

HP is king of the worldwide server castle, folllowed by IBM, Dell, Cisco and Oracle.

Blade servers fell by 1.5 percent in shipments while racks grew by 2.6 percent in shipments but fell by 1.8 percent in revenues.

Europe fared badly overall, with revenues down 4.3 percent compared to the same quarter.

Gartner analyst Adrian O’Connell said: “Ther performance of server shipments and revenue in EMEA is in a downward spiral.  Revenue has now declined for nine consecutive quarters and shipments have declined for eight.”

He said server revenues across EMEA is at its lowest level for over 15 years.

IBM fared particulalry badly, seeing its revenues fall by 19.2 percent. O’Connell said that the EMEA market is “resetting itself” for vendors that relied on high end platforms. He said the fourth quarter is also expected to be weak.

HP shows small signs of turnaround

HPGiant vendor Hewlett Packard turned in a profit of $1.4 billion on revenues of $29.1 billion, compared to a loss of $6.9 billion in the same fourth quarter a year back.

But although its enterprise group showed growth of two percent, its other divisions – personal systems, printing, enterprse services and software showed declines from the same period last year. Enterprise services fell nine percent, as did software.

All in all, HP’s revenues showed a 2.8 percent decline – and it expects further small declines in revenue.

The enterprise group managed to sell more storage and servers, with a two percent rise in sales. That follows CEO Meg Whitman’s decision a few months ago to shake up the unit.

Whitman thinks that HP needs to spend more money on research and development.

Lenovo “at crossroads” in servers

lenovo_hqA report from Patrick Moorhead’s Moor Insights & Strategy has asserted that, although the server market is dominated by Dell, HP and IBM at present, Lenovo is well positioned to break out of the “other” category and start making a serious dent in market share.

Players like Cisco and Fujitsu, 4th and 5th in the server market respectively, could even be overtaken by Lenovo in the near future. But it has some hurdles to leap and if it is to do so, Lenovo will have to prioritise servers.

Looking at Lenovo’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), it’s clear the company can compete on price and has a robust supply chain behind it. The company is leading in the growing China market, performing well with SMBs, and there remains a perceived tie with IBM when Big Blue sold off a chunk of its hardware.

However, Lenovo doesn’t offer cloud services or a complete product line outside of its home turf and is somewhat lacking on the ineternational enterprise stage. It has no small core direction, according to Moor Insights, a weak storage offering, and no apparent network switch or fabric offering.

Moor Insights & Strategy believes Lenovo will have the opportunity, although not without challenges, to pick up IBM’s x86 server business, which could address some of the above concerns. There is also a window for Lenovo to expand its SMB offerings within EMEA, particularly western Europe, where small to medium businesses are highly concentrated.

If Lenovo decided to buy IBM’s x86 business, Moor thinks it’s likely it’d go for the whole lot, while IBM could minimise damage to its own bottom line by maintaining blade IP, which it could then license to Lenovo. An acquisition would propel Lenovo to #3 in the server charts, way ahead of Fujitsu and Cisco, but the buy would have to be twinned with serious efforts to maintain previous IBM customers to prevent seduction over to rivals like HP or Dell.

Moor Insights suggests Lenovo focus on the cloud, where it is underrepresented, as well as building a portfolio it can extend to the large business market.  It must also underline its “message” – although it’s understood Lenovo performs well in client devices, the message is “not translating in the server market,” according to Moor. Lenovo needs to reinforce its position to potential enterprise customers.

Lenovo, the report says, is “at an interesting crossroads in the server market”. While there is ample opportunity for the company to really cement its position and overtake some of the competition, it will need to invest heavily.

“Lenovo has an opportunity to break out of its position and quickly move up in the market, as well it remains a company that could disrupt the market the way that Dell did years ago. But in order to do that, it needs to get into the market in a serious way,” the report concludes.

x86 revenues, market share down

8086According to the latest IDC statistics for EMEA, x86 server revenues are down 4.5 percent in Q2 2013, year on year.

x86 sales still held 71.3 percent of the total EMEA server market – a fall from 80.4 percent in the quarter before. The previous quarter saw a revenue decline of 1.5 percent. It’s not all doom and gloom: IDC’s Giorgio Nebuloni in the enterprise server group said product refreshes head for Q4 were the main reason for leaning on server spending for Q2, particularly in volume SMB.

IDC expects stabilisation for x86 spending next year, and perhaps some growth, with local cloud service projects and broader product refreshes contributing. But IDC also hopes for a “less negative macroeconomic scenario” – which is not entirely a given.

Mainframe performance did well for the quarter, however, with strong demand in western Europe – especially in the UK, France and Germany. Refreshes on previous generation mainframes helped, and IBM’s decision to release zEC12 in Q3 2012 helped.

“Mainframes are increasingly being deployed on Linux operating systems and high-availability needs remain a primary market engine in some industries,” IDC enterprise server group’s Beatriz Valle said.

In terms of vendors, HP was top for Q2 2013 – even with an annual revenue drop of 13.2 percent thanks to weaker demand for the x86 ProLiant servers. IBM was second, and Dell third, reports Digitimes.

 

IBM tops server charts, revenues fall

ibm-officeIDC’s latest worldwide server market figures are out, and IBM was top dog yet again despite a 10 percent yearly decline in factory revenue, and soft demand for System x and Power Systems.

Factory revenue overall worldwide decreased by 6.2 percent – but still netted $11.9 billion for the second quarter of 2013 alone. This was the second consecutive year of revenue decline as demand weakened in most regions around the world, while server unit shipments dropped 1.2 percent to 2.0 million units, the third consecutive quarterly decline.

Volume systems dropped 2.4 percent, while midrange system demand decreased a chunky 22.3 percent. High end systems decreased 9.5 percent.

HP was just behind IBM with 25.9 percent of the market. HP also experienced a 17.5 percent decline in factory revenue, as well as poor demand for the x86 ProLiant servers and continued declines in HP Integrity demand.

Dell came in third with 18.8 percent factory market share for the quarter, but factory revenues were up 10.3 percent compared to the same time last year, pitching Dell at its highest ever market share.

Oracle stayed at number four, holding six percent market share, with factory revenue decreases of 5.7 percent compared to the same time last year. Cisco was fifth with 4.5 percent share, but experienced a 42.6 percent yearly revenue growth, putting it above last quarter’s tie with Fujitsu.

IDC’s GM for enterprise platforms, Matt Eastwood, said: “Mainstream SMB and enterprise server customers around the world continue to focus on consolidation, virtualization, and migration initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency and lowering datacenter infrastructure costs. At the same time, challenging economic conditions are dampening demand for new IT projects necessary to grow the server market globally”.

“It is clear that the competitive dynamics in the server market remain fierce as the leading server vendors work to offset weak demand for generally higher margin Unix and blade servers with lower margin rack and density optimised servers,” Eastwood said.

IBM shows off zEnterprise BC12

ibm-officeIBM has announced the zEnterprise BC12 – the zBC12 mainframe, built with analytics, cloud, and mobile computing in mind.

Big Blue claims this server, priced at a cool $75,000, is one of the most secure and technologically advanced of its kind. It’s got a 4.2 GHz processor and twice the memory of its predecessor, the z114. IBM boasts it’s cheaper at the acquisition point than the closest competitor.

The zBC12 can handle 40 virtual servers per core or 520 in a single footprint, possibly for as little as $1 per day per server.

There will be a Linux-only version, too, called the Enterprise Linux Server. It includes hardware, a z/VM Hypervisor, three years of maintenance, and can be extended with ELS for Analytics and Cloud-Ready for Linux on System z. IBM says it can run a portfolio of more than 3,000 Linux applications.

IBM has included new hardware functions on the zBC12, such as providing CPU and storage savings by compressing data on the server. Management, IBM says, is simplified through z/OSMF.

The z/OS 2.1 operating system has improvements in performance and scalability. The OS now sports what IBM calls Crypto as a Service, meaning Linux applications can use z/OS to encrypt data.

General manager of IMB System z, Patrick Toole, said analytics, cloud and mobile are changing the way businesses operate.

“IBM’s zEnterprise technologies address these challenges by providing clients with a powerful and highly secure platform to manage new and emerging workloads,” Toole said, “helping speed time to market, reduce costs and stimulate business growth by making stronger connections with customers.”

 

Lenovo rumoured to buy IBM’s x86 biz

ibm-officeJust as Lenovo started climbing the ladder to become a top PC seller when it picked up IBM’s PC business, it is now rumoured to be in early discussion about buying Big Blue’s x86 server business.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported rumours that the Chinese PC seller  is interested in IBM’s server unit, which isn’t making as much cash in revenues as the latter would like. With IBM’s results taking a bit of a kicking, a deal between the two could be just weeks away, and worth up to an estimated $4.5 billion.

Lenovo conceded that it is in early stages of discussions with a third party about a potential acquisition. Meanwhile, an unnamed executive deepthroat told CRN that Lenovo is the only company in the running to buy IBM’s x86 business.

The move could be seen as the first major play by recently appointed CEO Virginia Rometty – looking to shed excess weight from the company’s portfolio and focusing on other higher revenue areas.

Lenovo, for its part, would be undertaking a serious diversifying of its portfolio by picking up the server unit – pushing into the enterprise beyond its traditional role as a PC shifter. While it has managed to weather the storm of the global recession and keep PC sales relatively reasonable, the company may be looking to build on other, more consistent revenue streams – a hefty buy from IBM would not look amiss next to the company’s server and network storage work that began with an EMC collaboration in mid 2012.

HP chucks Moonshine at non-x86 SECCs P.I.E

hpmoonshineHP has announced the latest in Project Moonshine, which CEO Meg Whitman said in a web conference should be a shift in the way servers handle data. It may also be a shift away from X86.

If nothing is done to address core infrastructure problems, Whitman said, infrastructure could be something that actually holds back the development of the web instead of enabling it. “It’s not just about cellphones and tablets connected to the internet but millions of sensors collecting data,” she said, machines talking to machines, and generating not petabytes but brontobytes of data.

Project Moonshine, Whitman promised, would not be jailhouse toilet booze but a “multiyear” and “multi phased” program to shape the future of data centres – as the current path we’re on is “not sustainable from a space, energy and cost perspective”. Using years of HP Labs research, Whitman and HP Moonshine will hel create “the foundation for the next 20 billion devices”.

In a webcast, HP’s Dave Donetelli mentioned the proof of concept for Moonshine which was unveiled in 2011, and since HP roped in 50 beta customers to thoroughly develop and test its various iterations. Now, HP has given the world the second gen Moonshine servers, which it claims are based on the concept of the ‘software defined server’ – that is, specifically with internet scaled workloads in mind, and designed for the software that needs to run on it.

Donetelli said the servers address Space, Energy, Cost, and Complexity (SECC). By which he means there’s less of all of the above.

The Moonshot 1500 enclosure, Donetelli points out, can hold 45 Moonshot servers, and compared to the traditional ProLiant server, it uses up to 80 percent less energy, 80 percent less space, and is 77 percent cheaper. Customers, then, will be able to build better revenues from a smaller footprint for less cash. These servers run on the Intel Atom s1200, though partners like AMD, Applied Micro, Texas Instruments and Calxeda are all bringing in new chipsets – which HP hopes will provoke market competition and more innovation.

Targeting big data, high performance computing, gaming, financial services, facial recognition, video analysis and other stuff, Donetelli promised that the portfolio of the servers will grow – and at a quicker rate thanks to the competition between its partners as it’s not tied to an 18 to 24 month chip cycle.

Partners will be able to, and encouraged to join the Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem, or P.I.E., including operating system developers and software vendors.

Donetelli said this announcement is not an “incremental change” but a “new class of servers designed for the data centre”.

When asked if these will replace X86 servers, an HP spokesperson said PCs were the high volume product at that time, today things that people buy in high volume are smartphones and tablets. A transition from Unix to X86 took time, and HP believes a transition from X86 to Moonshot will take time. “X86 will be here for a very long time, but Moonshot will be here for a long time,” the spokesperson said.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead said that the developments are positive because the servers of today aren’t ready for the explosion in data driven by future trends such as the all-singing all dancing totally connected internet of things.

The first Moonshot server is shipping today in US & Canada and will be available to channel partners around the world next month.

Tyan launches cheap, powerful server stuff

Tyan1Tyan has launched products aimed at people looking for powerful and cheap computing performance.

The server platform design manufacturer has shown off the Tyan TA77-B7061, its latest and flexible 2U GPU supported platform; the S7042, entry-level dual socket motherboard -GT62A-B5512 and the GT20A-B7040, the “cost-effective” 1U server at CeBIT.

The TA77-B7061 is said to help consumers who are looking for accelerated data-processing and efficient computing performance as a result of supporting up to four GPUs in a 2U server chassis, it is also said to save server and rack space through the use of Intel Xeon Phi processors, NVIDIA Tesla K20 Series and ATI FirePro.

The TA77-B7061 supports Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 Series Processors, (8+8) DDR-III R/U/LR-DIMM,  PCI-E x16 G3 slots, PCI-E x8 G3 slots,  GbE ports and 2.5” HDDs.

The S7042 motherboard is targeted at the SMB market, claiming to offer these sectors a cost-effective platform.  It is claimed to have multiple expansion slots and a cost-optimised dual socket motherboard designed for SMB and workstation environments.

Those looking for strong performance with a weak price tag are said to benefit from the GT62A-B5512 which is a one way 1U rackmount server, which is claimed to target nearline storage, and  bring down the cost of server deployment.

HP is top on blades, claims HP

hpmanvegasBlades are not expensive, HP said at a briefing here in the amazingly huge Sands Expo centre today.

It has shipped over three million blade systems and vastly outsells Dell and the others, said a man from HP. HP didn’t have very much to say about ARM, so we suspect he is talking about Intel based systems.

HP also claimed at the same press conference it was ahead on the storage front, you’ll be astonished to hear. HP will extend its converged storage portfolio with a couple of new products with a channel exclusive set of stuff called HP Store System and HP Store Virtual. It is all industry standard so basically we are talking about AMD and Intel – not ARM.

Store Virtual is incredibly simple, according to HP. “Because of the power of being HP we can deliver storage with rich data services with ProLiants”.

WLAN is a huge market for HP’s partners, growing 11 percent CAGR. WLAN is worth $4.18 billion, a spokesperson said.  HP claimed to be committed to driving all wireless revenue through its channel partners.  Ninety percent of HPN portfolio goes through the channel. HP Blade systems are worth $37 billion and driven by the channel, it was pointed out.

Taiwanese server makers take on traditional OEMs

server-racksThe server market has been dominated by the same players for years, but times are changing and Taiwanese outfits are aggressively entering the lucrative market.

Talking to EEtimes, Quanta cloud computing group general manager Mike Yang pointed out that Taiwanese companies are ramping up production of servers, switches and storage systems. The trend threatens to undermine the position of traditional OEMs.

“Traditional OEMs no longer have the advantage, we do,” said Yang. “The business model is changing and it provides us a very good opportunity.”

It could be said that Quanta entered the server market by accident. Five years ago it landed a sizeable contract from Facebook, which prompted the company to rethink its approach to the server market. Yang said the deal had a big impact on Quanta and it was quite surprising, as the company usually only provided precuts to OEMs.

But Facebook is not alone and Big Data is showing a lot of interest in Taiwan. Google and Microsoft also realised they could easily tap Taiwanese companies to build custom designed server suited for their needs. Two years after the Facebook deal, Korea Telecom also approached Quanta to build server racks.

“We asked them why they came to us, and they said they heard we were doing business with several of the biggest data centers in the world,” Yang said.

It did not take Quanta long to realise that it could cut out the middleman and sell its gear directly. Last year Quanta officially created its data centre group and it is pursuing the market more proactively. However, the company is playing both sides and it is still building servers for OEMs like  Dell and HP.

Quanta is not alone and one of its chief rivals is Wistron, a former arm of Acer that makes PCs for OEMs. Wistron is now getting orders for racks and last year it launched a spinoff called WiWynn to handle the data centre business and prevent possible conflicts of interest with OEM clients.

Dell: we’re serious about enterprise

haas330Dell CEO Michael Dell, so the rumours go, notoriously hates his company being referred to as a box-shifter.

While speculation about him personally taking the company off the market to exert more control increases, European bigwigs here at Dell’s Technology Camp, Amsterdam, took to the stage promising a packed room of analysts and reporters that Dell is on an aggressive push into enterprise, but that it is very much established there already.

Dell believes it will find opportunity in a world plagued with recession, and heavy hitters such as Marius Haas, president for Dell Enterprise Solutions, are fighting the company’s corner.

Opening the presentation was Aongus Hegarty, president, Dell EMEA. He insisted that Dell’s position is as an established software company, and that its many recent acquisitions – recently herded into one umbrella group as Dell Software, are paying off. Recurring themes from all the speakers were the company’s broad intellectual property and a vast stockpile of patents, swelling with each acquisition.

Crucially, Aongus pointed out that Dell is unique to the competition. Showing a slide that presented the company in a very favourable light within the enterprise, his statement was backed up by HP veteran Marius Haas. Haas said that over the last 10 or so years, people have been mostly thinking about performance and value – but the trend has shifted onto how also to provide operational efficiency across the board.

Haas pointed out that systems can be expensive to maintain, and flagged the Itanium as an example. Although these systems can provide some operational efficiencies, costs are there because they don’t provide the full package, according to Haas. Even with cheaper Chinese vendors (naming no names), though capital costs may be at bargain prices, operational costs can be higher because there are other factors to think in – and they still must be maintained. This is where Dell differs, he said.

Scalability is another key point. Being able to deliver services from the SMBs to enterprise level means more opportunity and flexibility. Haas mentioned an initiative by the British government to store all data from every study in a digital format: this leads on to conversations from high computational requirements through to what is possible with tape storage, or the cheapest options to protect and keep that data.

Although there has been a slow down in business spending, Dell fully expects the second half of this year to pick up. We will have to wait and see. What is clear, is that Dell is serious about further entrenching its brand as an enterprise company and its execs were quite convincing. Can a further shift away from shaky consumer territory be on the cards?