After 18 years of history reporting on networking equipment, Dell’Oro Group has launched server coverage at a fascinating stage in the evolution of this market; and from a very interesting angle.
As servers, storage and networking are converging and as the boundaries between the three entities become increasingly blurred; we really can’t talk about one element without talking about the other. I was at the Open Server Summit a couple of weeks ago and I was amazed by the number of networking and storage sessions that were held at a ‘Server’ summit.
The server market is also going through major disruptions such as:
- white box server vendors putting pressure on traditional vendors
- the move to the Cloud
- growth in China and the rise of local competitors in that region
- Cisco, a major networking vendor, entering the server market.
An understanding of these disruptive trends will allow a deeper comprehension and help us to identify and predict future networking trends as well as the vendor landscape in the data center.
In addition, server form factors are evolving, and now we’re talking about workload optimized server chassis where the various server nodes may be connected in different ways depending on the application requirements. Tracking this evolution is very important as it will definitely impact network speeds, architectures and equipment.
That said, we’re really looking at servers from a completely new perspective that no other research firm has tracked before, as we enter a different era where its category can no longer be simply defined as ‘IT’. We’re looking at servers from a networking perspective!
Understanding the networking piece of servers helps us understand the performance of not only the server vendors themselves, but also other equipment and component vendors. We do see a very tight correlation between server vendors’ ability to move to higher speeds and their ability to gain share in the server market: server vendors who’ve been gaining share are those playing in the growing portion of servers and that’s cloud and leading edge enterprises. Those are the early adopters of high networking speeds. We may see some regional differences to this correlation as growth in the Cloud is expected to come from China, where most of the data center deployments are still on 1 Gbps. But the correlation definitely holds true in the mature markets.