HPE: Smaller Is Better
Nov09

HPE: Smaller Is Better

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been pushing a smaller-is-better strategy for the last few years, spinning off PCs and printers, services and software, and now it looks like it’s applied that strategy to its mission-critical server line. Superdome Flex, the follow-up to Superdome X, the server family that started the company’s RISC-averse transition from Itanium to Xeon, opens up a $6-8 billion market that HPE wasn’t able to address effectively, HPE’s Randy Meyer, VP & GM, Mission Critical Systems, told IT Trends & Analysis. When it comes to the mission-critical x86 server market, driven by database, Oracle and SAP HANA applications moving from Unix to Linux, there were only a couple of choices, he said. While the up-to-16-socket Superdome X does the job well, the problem was at the bottom with 4-socket entry-level systems, especially for customers who knew they were going to eventually need more sockets. “In the Superdome X form factor, you paid a lot for the infrastructure.” With Flex, HPE went modular, making it much easier — and affordable — for customers to grow from 4 sockets all the way up to 32. “All of a sudden you have customers saying this is really cool.” Meyer believes this will open up a “huge chunk” of the market, and the ability to scale up and down will appeal to large customers, as well as the previously untapped midmarket. Following a couple of slow quarters, server revenues climbed 6.3% year over year to $15.7 billion in the second quarter of 2017, while midrange server revenue shot up 19.6% to $1.5 billion, and demand for high-end systems tumbled 18.9% to $1.3 billion, according to IDC. HPE held on to top spot (21.3% of the market), but revenues slid 8.4% YoY to $3.3 billion, while second-place Dell (17.7%) posted 7% YoY revenue growth. x86 server demand increased 10.4% to $14.3 billion, while non-x86 servers declined 21.5% to $1.5 billion. “Demand for two-socket form factors continues to control a majority of unit shipments now and going forward as they are the sweet spot for density-optimized servers which are used in datacenters,” said IDC’s Lloyd Cohen, director of Worldwide Market Analysis, Computing Platforms. Gartner’s server numbers were lower: 2.8% YoY revenue growth to $13.9 billion, and a 9.4% marketshare decline for HPE. RISC/Itanium Unix servers plummeted 21.4% in shipments and 24.9% in vendor revenue, which at least did better than the ‘other’ CPU category, which is primarily mainframes, down a whopping 29.5% in revenue (and that’s after an infrequent IBM z Series refresh). HPE reported significantly better results for high-performance computing. For its latest quarter the company said revenue from the HPC...

Read More

Lenovo DCG and the Benefits of “Failing Fast”

IT industry vendors evolve in different ways and for different reasons but corporate acquisitions can affect that process substantially in both expected and unexpected ways. For example, purchasing new products and/or intellectual property can enable the acquirer to enter unfamiliar markets far quicker than if organic development were pursued. Such deals can also substantially bolster the buyer’s reputation, especially if it purchases a solid brand and carefully manages product quality and customer relationships. But virtually every deal encounters at least some turbulence related to customer- and technology-integration issues. How and how well a vendor negotiates those challenges should be points of interest for IT customers and partners alike. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More
IBM Enterprise2014: Life After Intel, Disks & (Storage) Hardware
Oct07

IBM Enterprise2014: Life After Intel, Disks & (Storage) Hardware

LAS VEGAS: It’s the second annual IBM Enterprise event, which combines IBM System z (mainframe, or Big Iron) Technical University, the IBM Power Systems (the mini-me platform) Technical University and the Enterprise Executive Summit, featuring heavy doses of education, training and certification. However, for an event billed as the premier enterprise infrastructure (i.e. hardware) conference, which drew an audience of 3,600 customers and partners, up 35% from last year’s debut, software featured prominently in the Day 1 announcements. Technically, the hardware announcements weren’t really made at the conference, and instead were released on Friday, the day after the announcement that the initial closing for Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business  had been completed. Now that it has completely severed its ties to the Wintel duopoly that handcuffed its PC and server businesses, Big Blue has announced what it calls a “superior alternative” to x86-based commodity servers, with nearly 20% better price/performance. Built on the IBM Power8 CPU and OpenPower stack, and integrating IBM and other OpenPOWER member technologies, including NVIDIA’s GPU accelerator technology, the Power S824L servers enable clients to run data-intensive tasks on the CPU while offloading other compute-intensive Big Data workloads to GPU accelerators. IBM said these accelerators are capable of running millions of data computations in parallel and are designed to significantly speed up compute-intensive applications. It plans to optimize applications like DB2 to take advantage of GPU acceleration on Power Systems. In addition, future Power systems, due out in 2016,  will feature NVIDIA NVLink technology, eliminating the need to transfer data between the CPU and GPUs over the PCI Express interface. Other Power8 announcements included: IBM Data Engine for NoSQL; IBM Data Engine for Analytics – Power Systems Edition; Power Enterprise Systems; and Power Enterprise Pools. All offerings are scheduled for GA on October 31. Unlike its commodity server business, which IBM was happy to unload on — excuse me, sell to — Lenovo, storage appears to be a much more attractive opportunity, at least from the flash and software-defined perspectives. IDC reported that sales of Software Defined Storage Platforms grew more than 15% in the second quarter, and that IBM was the SDS-P leader for the Worldwide Storage Software QView for the 2Q14, based on software revenue. Meanwhile, over at Gartner, IBM was crowned as the 2013 worldwide leader in flash storage arrays, based on revenue. Being first is good, but when it comes to enterprise storage, disk is still king, and EMC still wears the crown (although Dell claims top spot for combined external and internal storage shipments, based on capacities). Given the negligible shares flash and SDS account for in the enterprise storage...

Read More

…Making Sure a Royal Wedding Doesn’t Become a Royal Pain

The partnership between Lenovo and IBM is unique. IBM is in the process of divesting its System x x86 server organization to Lenovo but attempting to hold on to the customer relationships this business represents. Lenovo is not only getting System x but access to the rest of IBM’s product portfolio to finish off its own solutions. This creates the potential for an organizational structure more like what would be created between royalties to form alliances than your typical partnership, which is not unlike what viewers have been seeing on HBO’s series of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More

Part 2of5: IBM Flexes X6 and Xeon Muscle

IBM’s announcement of three new compute node solutions for its Flex Systems portfolio finds the company leveraging two well-established, well-respected technologies. The first is Intel’s Xeon E7v2 CPUs, the latest version of the processor family that dominates modern data center systems and sales. The second is IBM’s X6, the sixth generation of the X-Architecture technology that is designed to extend and maximize the value of industry standard x86-based systems. As such, we believe these new Flex System compute nodes will deliver notable value to IBM individually, but they should also offer significant benefits beyond the company that are worth further consideration. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

Read More