More Server Power For Lower Prices
According to Dataquest, blade makers are concentrating on dual-socket models (which can fit two CPU chips) with quad-core CPU chips because of manufacturing economies. Presumably, the use of multiple sockets and quad-core CPUs will keep blades at the upper end of the SMB market.
Finally, there's virtualization, or a server's ability to run more than one operating system, while convincing each resident OS that it's alone on that machine. Virtualization lets users reduce the number of machines they need by consolidating the jobs of multiple servers.
Previously, server virtualization for small and midsize businesses started and ended with VMware. But Microsoft has now entered the market with its Hyper-V product for 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008. Oracle, Sun, and some smaller vendors also have virtualization tools.
Competition will likely drive down the price of virtualization software, and versions of VMware's hypervisor have already been made freeware. Microsoft's Hyper-V is also a free download. Among management tools, Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 is expected to sell for about $1,300, or about one-third of the VMware's equivalent Virtual Center, according to InformationWeek.
While competition should be good for the users, the processors themselves may offer more and more virtualization features, so that, in the next few years, virtualization may become a hardware feature -- and become much easier to implement.
For more information about server trends, please contact these consulting firms and other sources:
- Dataquest: "Short-Term Server Forecast Assumptions, Worldwide, 2008-2009, September 2008 Update"
- IDC: "AMD Updates Market on Server Processor and Platform Road Map, Insight #214152 - Sep 2008"
- Intel Roadmap Overview
- IDC: "Intel Drives Processor Density for Virtualization, Visualization, and Power Efficiency, Insight #211235 - Mar 2008"
- Intel Multi-Core Architecture Briefing