Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on March 26, 2019
Dell, HPE Servers Have the Largest Market Share
Don’t say enterprise data centers are dead! According to market research firm IDC’s worldwide server market report, in the third quarter of 2018, worldwide server shipments increased 18.3% year over year to 3.2 million units, with vendor revenue growing 37.7% to $23.4 billion during that period.
Dell (17.5% market share) led the way, switching places with last year’s number two, HPE, now at 16.3%. These companies go head-to-head quarter by quarter, evidence of their enduring popularity. Lenovo and Cisco are in the battle along with IBM, which tends to focus on the high end of the server market since selling off its x86-based server line to Lenovo in 2014. HPE VS Dell Servers
With our focus on repurposing IT assets, we have some insight into what’s hot in the server market and offer up this list of top data center servers, along with some industry insight into what makes them sizzle:
Top Reviews of Dell PowerEdge Servers
Dell EMC has a comprehensive line of rack servers aiming to meet the needs of virtually any enterprise, from SMB to large. Now joined with EMC, it has access to top storage, security and virtualization technologies that can be integrated or added on to server assets.
The Dell PowerEdge R940 is “a beast of a server,” according to IT PRO, “offering a mighty 4-socket Xeon Scalable solution in a surprisingly small package.” Many enterprises will move up from the predecessor R930, offering other companies an opportunity to buy in relatively low for the previous champion. The R940 also has a variant with a little more oomph, the Dell PowerEdge R940xa. “With the R940 you can have 4x CPUs and 2x GPUs,” explains ServeTheHome. “With the PowerEdge R940xa one can have 4x CPUs and 4x GPU or 8x FPGAs.”
Next up is the Dell PowerEdge R840, which IT PRO calls a “pint-sized powerhouse…a very different beast to its predecessor, the R830” with twice the twice the memory capacity and more drive bays.
As part of its 2017 refresh announcement, Dell introduced the R740 server family, which includes the mainstream R740 as well as the R740xd “extreme disk” version. “There are few applications this new server wouldn’t excel in, which is exactly the direction Dell EMC took when designing this ever-modular platform,” says StorageReview.com.
And IT PRO chimes in that “…the PowerEdge R740xd packs a superb range of storage features into its 2U chassis and teams them up with a class remote management act.”
Scaling down, organizations have the option of the Dell PowerEdge R640—“an extraordinarily customizable system,” according to ServeTheHome. Meanwhile, the Dell PowerEdge R540 offers a 2U, dual-socket chassis in a small footprint with large storage.
Top Models: Dell PowerEdge R940xa, Dell PowerEdge R940, Dell PowerEdge R840, Dell PowerEdge R740xd, Dell PowerEdge R740, Dell PowerEdge R640, Dell PowerEdge R540
HPE Server Line Refresh Good for Business
In mid-2017, HPE previewed a complete refresh of its line with the new Generation 10 ProLiant server family, promising better security and manageability. “The security feature is at the firmware level, with an iLO (integrated lights out) offering made from custom HPE silicon and iLO firmware,” The Register reported. “The aim is to repel firmware attacks and stop servers executing compromised firmware code.”
The HPE ProLiant DL580 Gen10 is a 4U expandable “workhorse server” with a flexible processor tray that supports one-to-four Intel Xeon Scalable processors with up to 28 cores per processor, along with as much as 6TB of memory. A flexible drive cage design supports up to 48 storage devices. The HPE ProLiant DL560 Gen10 also supports up to 4 processors in a 2U form factor.
Mainstream users will cheer the HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 that, according to FedTech Magazine, “can serve files, become part of a cloud, anchor the core of a virtual machine network, house database apps, participate in Big Data functions or handle numerous other operations.” And, says IT PRO, “the DL380 Gen10 receives a complete refresh in the storage department with a new modular design. HPE’s Smart Array RAID controllers have also been uprated to offer more storage and interface choices.” HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10 is a 1U version designed for compact spaces.
Then there’s HPE’s large commercial, air-cooled, HPC platform, the HPE Apollo 6000 Gen10 System. According to StorageReview.com, it was designed “to deliver over 300 teraflops per rack, higher rack-scale efficiency and exceptional price performance.” HPE has positioned it as the most secure HPC system available.
Lenovo may be sneaking up on competitors. “The company’s acquisition of IBM’s x86 server in 2014 left Lenovo positioned well for the enterprise server ecosystem and more agile than competitors like Dell EMC or Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.,” says Silicon Angle. Industry analyst Patrick Moorhead writes in Forbes that Lenovo is staking out a claim on the hyperscale market that it sees as including large enterprise data centers.
The ThinkSystem models it unveiled in 2017 are gaining notice. “Lenovo has unleashed a host of new ThinkSystem servers which benefit from the latest Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and this hardware has set a whole load of new world record benchmarks,” says TechRadar.
Inside HPC says the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR670 “completely re-thinks traditional board-level design: no longer are devices in fixed positions on a large, static motherboard. Instead, the system is compartmentalized, with different functions placed throughout the system, optimized for access, cooling and performance. Integrated modularity is achieved by leveraging flexible PCI lanes instead of PCIe slots.”
A level down, the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 “represent a huge step forward for Lenovo as it’s well designed, good value and highly expandable,” says IT PRO, adding that “the new xClarity Controller finally brings Lenovo into 21st-century server management.”
The dual-socket 1U Lenovo ThinkSystem SR570 is covers the bases of cloud, virtualization, and traditional IT workloads, while the dual-socket 2U Lenovo ThinkSystem SR550 aims to span small to large-size enterprises with a cost-effective solution for key workloads.
Used Hardware Still in Demand
Constant refreshing of the Dell and HP top lines leads to new demand from data centers eager for more power, improved ROI, more compact rack-mount devices—or a combination of all three.
At the same time, as companies upgrade, they also often look to liquidate older assets, offering other companies the opportunity to buy more compute for their own needs at a sizeable discount to buying new systems. Then these new systems are running Windows Server 2019. Read our blog on Windows Server 2019 Key Features for more information.
This end of the market is also refreshed with the growing migration of cloud services and hyperscale data centers, leading some companies to decommission older, less efficient data centers.
Worldwide Server Market, Third Quarter, 2018
Source: International Data Corp.
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