Market data

As server technology evolves, it buyers are starting to acknowledge the potential value of introducing blade servers in large numbers into their IT infrastructures. IDC, the research analyst group, suggests that the market for blade servers will reach $9 billion by 2008.

"Blade servers, which are rapidly being adopted for server consolidation projects, are on pace to exceed a billion dollars in sales in 2004," according to John Humphries, research manager of global enterprise server solutions at IDC.

Indeed, recent predictions by IDC say the blade computer market will represent 29% of server unit shipments by the end of 2008 up from around 5% today, a shift that will reshape the server landscape while simultaneously creating new areas of demand for server management, virtualisation, network equipment and clustering.

IDC has also tried to estimate future demand for grid technology in Western Europe. Its analysts reckon the grid server market will reach $1.8 billion by 2008.

“In the next five years grid computing will become increasingly adopted in commercial data centres.”

In particular, the findings suggest that demand is coming in three distinct technology areas – computing, data and optimisation.

Early adoption in Western Europe has been primarily in the high-performance computing market for large, batch-oriented grids – a market traditionally satisfied by high performance computers. The report forecasts that the next five years will see grid computing taking over in the high-performance computing space (HPC) in Western Europe. At the same time, grid computing will become increasingly adopted in commercial data centres during this period.

The greatest area for potential growth, according to IDC, will come from the consolidation and allocation of resources across a variety of business services.

But there are a number of obstacles that are currently inhibiting successful adoption of grid computing. The first of these is that companies have cultural and organisational concerns with resource sharing, particularly in Europe. Next, there is the distinct lack of commercial applications that run on a grid environment. This issue needs to be addressed for the widespread adoption of grids within enterprises.

Companies in Western Europe currently view grids as requiring large investment in new skills and services – a situation exacerbated by the fact that there is still a general lack of tools and industry standards.

Finally, companies are concerned about the security issues of grid computing.

Grid is one of the key enablers of utility computing, and analysts at the Yankee Group recently canvassed opinion on the subject at four major enterprises that have adopted utility computing. Their aim was to investigate what benefits they are deriving from early implementations of the new technologies. The results indicate that migrating to a utility computing model has a significant impact on server overheads. One of the companies surveyed said it saved 20% over historic server costs by choosing a model that allowed it to turn on additional processors one at a time, rather than buy the standard eight-CPU pack.

The general consensus in the findings was that a lot of companies already have the capacity they need. That is why, even though large suppliers like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle fervently support the technology, it has still to be embraced as a computing paradigm by most companies.

"Some businesses, especially in the face of recent economic [uncertainty] are staying stable or shrinking, so instead of undercapacity, they still have excess capacity," said Andrew Efstathiou, research analyst at Yankee Group. "But if a company is rapidly changing what it is doing then utility is a very attractive option for them," he adds.


Spend on Blade Servers
Source: IDC


Intel-based blade server market share 1Q04
Source: IDC


Blades as a percentage of all server shipments
Source: IDC

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics