Of the fundamental certainties in life – death, taxes, my sports teams losing and Moore’s Law – only one can eagerly anticipated, like Grantley-EP, the code name for the newest member of Intel’s server chip family. Up to three times the performance of its predecessors, the Xeon E5-2600 v3 – available in 26 models – was officially launched this week, along with servers from the likes of Dell, IBM, Lenovo, and Supermicro. HP jumped the gun 10 days earlier, and Cisco made its server announcements last week, but essentially, the gang’s all here.
While server revenues were up 2.8% last quarter, according to Gartner, shipments were down for the top three vendors (HP – 22.9% market share, down 2.9%; Dell – 19.6%, down 11.4% and IBM – 7.7%, down 9%). x86 servers inched up 1.4% in units, but jumped 8.1% in revenue.
IDC’s findings were similar, but noted that demand for servers in the public cloud continues to be a major driving force for market growth. “While many of the largest of these companies have already undergone periodic datacenter expansions over the past year, public cloud demand for new servers will continue to outpace the general market in the immediate future,” stated IDC’s Kuba Stolarski, Research Manager, Enterprise Servers.
Cloud is just one of the megatrends driving the server market, Brian Payne, Executive Director of Server Solutions, Dell, told IT Trends & Analysis. His company does ongoing research with 5,000 customers, and also partnered recently with Intel to find out that customers are investing heavily in megatrends like Big Data and software-defined everything.
“Over 80% of IT decision makers had key investments … dedicated to these megatrends”, he said. And 60% of them are running some mix of traditional apps with new apps. “It means we’re in the midst of a big change… [but] at the end of the day… our customers are talking about how can I deliver business results.”
The other key trend plays to a traditional Dell strength, reducing complexity. “Over 90% of the organizations we talk to are looking for some kind of simplified system management.”
Businesses are in the midst of facing disruptive forces such as hybrid cloud computing, mobility, big data and software defined data centers while balancing initiatives that deliver exponential enhancements towards IT operational efficiency, said Mark Bowker, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “Dell’s new PowerEdge servers help instill confidence with IT decision makers as they invest in a broad spectrum of infrastructure to efficiently run current workloads, embrace application modernization and successfully navigate emerging architectural designs.”
Payne said the core foundation of the 13th PowerEdge generation is tied to addressing those trends… “and what can we do to make the management of those products simpler.”
Reducing management complexity was a major focus, agreed Kevin Noreen, Marketing Director of Server Solutions, Dell. The actual cost of acquiring the hardware is only a fraction of the total cost of ownership, so customers are looking for help, like the new zero-touch automated deployment capability. We can reduce the amount of time someone has to spend on deploying servers by 99%, he said.
Another new feature is automatic server updates, whereby customers can control having servers check and update themselves, which can cut 61% off the time required to do these checks and updates manually. These and a number of new features provide great investment protection, said Noreen.
Looking ahead, Payne said most customers (75%) are looking for help in tuning their servers for better performance. “It becomes a journey of addressing customers specific concerns.”
Dell’s PowerEdge server announcements include:
-advances in software-defined storage technologies allow customers to accelerate application performance by up to 11X and improve economics; portfolio includes industry’s first hybrid storage server using 1.8-inch flash drives and 3.5-inch SATA drives;
-up to 10X improvement in deployment time with systems management capabilities for automation and at-the-box management; zero-touch automation reduces configuration time by up to 99%;
-industry’s first Near Field Communication (NFC) server management solution pushes mobile systems management monitoring and setup capability by requiring up to 84% less time for collecting inventory.