Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Weather Prediction for 2012: Cloudy, With a Chance of Serious Growth

Library of Congress

Here’s something we haven’t seen much of in the new year: Bullish predictions for some part of the tech economy.

While research houses like Gartner and IDC can’t seem to slash their 2012 spending forecasts fast enough to keep up with the ever-gloomier outlook, it’s a different scene in the area of servers used to build cloud services.

IHS iSuppli is out with some new research saying that the number of cloud servers sold this year will be 875,000 — or nearly double the 460,000 sold in 2010 — amounting to a surge of 35 percent over 2011, when 647,000 were sold.

And it gets better: The rate of growth is expected to continue over the next three years, in the 20 percent to 30 percent range. Cloud server sales will grow at a rate that’s five times faster than the rate of growth for general-purpose servers, iSuppli says.

And while cloud servers amount to only a 5 percent sliver of the overall server market now, by 2015, that will reach 15 percent. Apple, Google, Amazon and IBM will be pushing more cloud services to companies and to consumers; cloud-services companies like Salesforce.com, Workday and NetSuite, to name just a few, will be adding more services and more capacity as their businesses grow.

It’s good news for companies turning out servers, like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM and even Cisco Systems, which is an increasingly important player in the server market, along with chipmaker Intel.

There is one wrinkle, iSuppli says. The market for server vendors is starting to widen away from the traditional vendors. When companies can’t get the customized products they want from traditional players like HP and Dell, they’re increasingly turning to Taiwanese ODM companies like Quanta and Wistron to build hardware just the way they want it.


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