On the other hand, Dell is capitalizing on the hyperscale trend, selling microservers to organizations with huge data centers that are looking for dense, energy-efficient servers, he said. Competition in this space not only comes from other OEMs like IBM and HP, but also white-box makers.
“This hyperscale business is being used by Dell to offset weakening demand in traditional mainstream customers,” Eastwood said. “Dell is also winning by putting pricing pressure on HP, which HP has been unwilling to march. That will likely change going forward.”
Pricing pressure is destined to continue in the x86 space, as other players, such as Lenovo, look to grow their server businesses.
That’s not to say that other system makers are standing pat. For example, IBM, HP and others are all aggressively pursuing the converged infrastructure space, and HP officials see their new Project Moonshot servers as a significant growth business.
HP officials in April introduced the first low-power Moonshot microservers, which are powered by Intel Atom chips. The microserver space promises to be a highly competitive segment of the market going forward. Dell has a similar program under way with its Copper servers, and chip makers Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and others using ARM’s low-power designs are creating products designed specifically for the space.
Intel already has its Centerton system-on-a-chip (SoC) on the market, and is expected to soon announced “Avoton,” the next generation. AMD in May introduced its Kyoto Opteron chips, and next year will also start manufacturing ARM-based server SoCs. Chips from other manufacturers based on ARM’s upcoming 64-bit ARMv8 architecture are expected to start coming out in 2014.
“Density-optimized servers achieved the highest growth of any segment in the server market,” Jed Scaramella, research manager for enterprise servers at IDC, said in a statement. “The data center build-outs by service providers are driving growth in the industry and represent a strategic opportunity for OEMs, while at the same time IDC is seeing new participants enter the market targeting the hyperscale data center segment.”