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The Commoditization of Server Hardware

Hardware infrastructure developers will have to cope with commoditization, either by recalibrating their efforts toward commoditization, or by forging partnerships with other data center ecosystem contributors, writes Jake Iskhakov of ServerLIFT.

Jake Iskhakov is the Director of Sales & Marketing at ServerLIFT Corporation.

As the data center industry continues to grow, the server hardware market is undergoing a transformation. It appears that more companies are avoiding brand hardware and single-vendor infrastructures for commodity equipment that provides the same level of performance. There are a variety of factors driving this trend, including initiatives such as the Open Compute project. The Open Compute Project continues to stimulate interest and participation in open source hardware design, as well as technological innovations that make facilities less dependent on hardware.

Facility Convergence Helps Server Hardware Evolve

More companies are opting for wholesale data center leases, while focusing on energy efficiency and server capacity. This trend is increasing the emphasis on the data center as an ecosystem, which promotes a "plug-n-play" environment. This type of optimized facility compiles the best of each component, regardless of vendor, in order to establish the highest-performing facility possible.

Customization at this level was available only to enterprises, due to the required resources in the past. However, the rise of data centers that require space and capacity, however lack top-tier funds, created demand for facilities that offered tailored features and an eye toward the ecosystem. Additionally, compliance, certification and other industry-specific measures require different facilities to have wildly divergent needs. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work. The plug-n-play model, however, is established with these special requirements in mind.

The Role of Server Hardware in the Software-Defined Data Center

Software and virtualization increasingly occupy a higher percentage of data center infrastructures. This makes physical servers still crucial to facility functionality, but changes the nature of what their relevance. IBM, Lenovo and a number of other hardware providers are increasingly focused on the way that their equipment functions within the larger facility, according to ITBusinessEdge.

While there will remain a need for specialized hardware, commodity server equipment can occupy a large segment of the market formally reserved for vendor-specific assets. Ultimately, hardware infrastructure developers will have to cope with commoditization, either by recalibrating their efforts toward commoditization or forging partnerships with other data center ecosystem contributors.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission processfor information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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