Microservers are an emerging category of low-cost, low-power, stripped-down servers that are expected to play a greater role in workloads where little compute power is needed, and in new data center architectures where tiny microservers are packed into dense clusters. In the coming years, microservers will be a key driver of server sales, according to the 2014 edition of IC Insights’ IC Market Drivers report (paywall).
According to IC Insights, server sales volumes in the past two years have been plagued by price erosion and the weak global economy, but in the next three years this market segment is expected to reach record highs. Worldwide server revenues rise are anticipated to rise about three percent to $54.6 billion in 2014, followed by stronger growth in 2015 and 2016, before an expected economic slowdown in 2017 that would pull down the market again.
Servers, which accounted for an estimated 13 percent of total computer systems revenues in 2013, and their sales are forecast to rise by just 1.5 percent on average between 2012 and 2017.
However, report authors identify the new microserver segment as driving new purchases of servers. The high-density microservers are geared towards power efficiency in serving a massive number of lightweight-computing tasks such as serving simple applications and web pages to smartphones, but also a wider range of data center applications and new cloud-computing services.
IC Insights forecasts that worldwide microserver sales will grow 139 percent in 2014 to $580 million from an estimated $243 million in 2013. Between 2012 and 2017, microserver sales are projected to rise nearly 72 percent per year on average to total $1.2 billion in 2017.
News of the closure of Calxeda, an Australian maker of microserver chips, recently came to light. However, this shouldn’t be taken as an indication of a slowdown in the overall microserver momentum.
The microserver segment has become a major battleground between Intel, AppliedMicro, Nvidia, Marvell Technology, Samsung, and some other processor suppliers who are ramping up their efforts to develop new chipsets for microservers.