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2010 IDC Top 10 IT Market Predictions

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  • 1. TOP 10 PREDICTIONS Worldwide Enterprise Server 2010 Top 10 Predictions Jean S. Bozman Matthew Eastwood Michelle Bailey Jed Scaramella Daniel Harrington Katherine Broderick Lloyd Cohen PREDICTIONS 1. A Technology Refresh Cycle, Combined with Delayed/Deferred Server www.idc.com Acquisitions and IT Budget Improvements, Will Drive an Inflection Point for the Server Market, with Modest Growth Resuming in 2010. 2. Converged Infrastructure Will Emerge as a Major Objective of New IT Projects, Both to Accelerate Virtualization and as a Stepping-Stone to Cloud Computing. F.508.935.4015 3. Infrastructure Renewal Initiatives Will Increasingly Involve Cloud Migration Considerations in 2010, and Workloads Will Be the Critical Pivot Points for These Decisions. 4. 2010 Will Be a Crossover Year for Virtualization; More Virtual Servers Will Be P.508.872.8200 Shipped than Physical Servers as Adoption Increases and VM Densities Rise. 5. The Relatively Homogenous x86 Volume Market Will Begin Bifurcating into a Value-Driven Market, with Microservers at the Low End and Scalable, Multicore Servers at the High End of the x86 Server Range. Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA 6. Advances in x86 Processor Architectures Will Drive Multicore to New Levels with Releases of 8- and 12-Core CPUs, Which Will Push x86 Servers Upmarket to Address High-End Workloads, Including Ones Traditionally Run on Unix Servers. 7. After Weathering the Recession, Blade Server Sales Will Accelerate Faster than Any Other Market Segment in 2010, Driven by IT's Quest for Flexible Deployments and Unified Management. 8. Oracle's Acquisition of Sun Will Change the Dynamics of the Server Market as Oracle Focuses on Building Scale-Up, High-Value Servers for the Enterprise Datacenter — and Selling Software for Scale-Out, High-Volume x86 Server Deployments. 9. Customers Will Focus on the Operational and Business Impacts of the Datacenter as the Vendor Marketing Emphasis Shifts from "Green" to "Energy Efficient." 10. 2010 Will Herald the Beginning of Recovery for the Enterprise Datacenter Market and Help Fuel the Ongoing Growth of the Scale-Out Datacenter. Filing Information: February 2010, IDC #221796, Volume: 1 Enterprise Servers: Technology Markets: Top 10 Predictions
  • 2. IN THIS STUDY This study provides IDC's top 10 predictions for the worldwide server market in 2010. This "10 for '10" list provides analysis for each of the predictions listed, and it provides the rationale for each prediction being made. This document offers the views of IDC's server group analysts for what major transitions will start, continue, or complete during 2010. A list of reference documents is also provided. SITUATION OVERVIEW The worldwide server market saw a sharp downturn in 2009, as the economic downturn pushed revenue down by double digits compared with CY08 and unit shipments dipped below the 8-million-unit record set in 2008. IDC believes that the server market will see single-digit growth in 2010 and overall stabilization of demand for new servers. And yet, there will be a new "normal" whose shape has not yet been seen. New factors in the mix are increased virtualization of physical servers, more powerful microprocessors, and new types of servers designed to meet new use-case requirements. At the same time, servers will increasingly be seen as the hardware foundation for a new wave of server-based solutions, aimed at running specific applications or databases. From a geographic perspective, pockets of faster growth may emerge in some areas of Asia/Pacific in 2010, but most geographic regions will see moderate improvements in revenue and unit shipments compared with 2009. FUTURE OUTLOOK IDC believes that a number of trends will emerge in 2010 — highlighting the role of new technologies in influencing server adoption worldwide. From multicore processors to server virtualization to cloud-optimized designs, server products will evolve in 2010. Ironically, as capability continues to climb within each server class, the intense competition between vendors will result in price erosion for many segments. The exception to this price-erosion trend would be for the two-socket and four-socket servers that are being outfitted with extra memory and capability to support high numbers of virtual machines (VMs). The extra capability will push some models into higher price bands within the same server class. Deployment patterns will change, too — as specialized, modular, energy-efficient datacenters are built out, following a period of delays and deferrals during the downturn of 2009. Aging servers will be replaced — although some of the most scalable servers may be replaced by groups of midrange servers, deployed singly or in clusters. In some cases, there will be changes in the operating system and software "stacks" that accompany this technology refresh cycle — in others, dense computing will allow replacement of physically larger systems by smaller form factors, as high-end capabilities cascade into midrange systems. ©2010 IDC #221796 1
  • 3. Finally, blade systems will continue their growth trend, with a return to faster growth rates. Given the flexibility that IT organizations gain with their deployment, blades are on a path to top 20% of all server unit shipments by 2011–2012. IDC notes that blade deployments are often accompanied by virtualization deployments, as workloads are consolidated onto a blade server chassis for easier management than on standalone, rack-optimized servers. 1. A Technology Refresh Cycle, Combined with Delayed/Deferred Server Acquisitions and IT Budget Improvements, Will Drive an Inflection Point for the Server Market, with Modest Growth Resuming in 2010 While there will be a modest improvement in IT expenditures in 2010, the recovery will not be the same for all segments and all geographies. The recession hit the United States first, where thousands of automotive and financial workers were let go, affecting IT demand rates. The "wave" of financial disaster then moved overseas, first hitting Europe and then striking Asia. IT budgets were locked down, users deferred spending, and server life cycles became extended. IDC recommends that vendors be aware that geographic regions will recover from the recession at varying rates in 2010. Some emerging IT markets that were traditionally seen as areas of growth will be slower to rebound than originally expected. However, regions that were first affected by the recession, including the United States, are expected to show significant signs of improvement in 2010. The United States is expected to show 9.6% unit growth, driven by an expected increase in volume servers (servers priced less than $25,000) in particular, a category that is expected to post 9.9% growth. The Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region is also expected to lead much of the rebound in 2010, with an expected unit growth of 9.1%; this will be driven by a strong 14.9% growth in the midrange and 9.0% growth in the volume segment. IDC expects this rebound to occur not only due to positive macroeconomic indicators but also due to the recent period of extended life cycles. IDC believes that pre-recessionary server life cycles were consistently around three to five years in length. However, due to constrained IT budgets, IDC has observed replacement of these servers to be consistently pushed out throughout 2009. This has caused much of the installed base to become outdated, with some devices reaching five- to six-year life cycles. The year 2010 will mark an important return to installed base refreshes driven by an uptick in enterprise budgets, new technological innovations, and a return to economic growth. 2. Converged Infrastructure Will Emerge as a Major Objective of New IT Projects, Both to Accelerate Virtualization and as a Stepping- Stone to Cloud Computing Converged infrastructure (CI) is becoming a new design point for infrastructure build- outs, as a select customer set seeks a unified "fabric" of servers, storage, and networking to break down "silos" of IT — and to support dynamic IT, which can be 2 #221796 ©2010 IDC
  • 4. seen as a stepping-stone to private clouds and public clouds. Many sites are still suffering from the "pain" of inefficient infrastructure, including underutilization of on- board resources. Workload consolidation onto fewer server footprints, leveraging virtualization, has had the effect of improving resource utilization. With CI, integration of servers, storage, and networking equipment will create a common foundation, or fabric, to support dense deployments of virtual servers — for rapid provisioning of workloads across that fabric and for moving toward cloud. Systems vendors are moving quickly to provide preconfigured CI and optimized technology stacks, including HP and Cisco, with Oracle, following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, planning to combine integrated hardware/software infrastructure in the technology stack. Key enablers for this transition to CI will include increased IT budgets, where available; presence of IT skill sets (in-house or from third-party suppliers), and a drive t o r e d u c e operational costs compared with siloed infrastructure in traditional datacenters. However, upfront costs for hardware acquisition, software development, and system redesign will slow CI adoption in many IT sites. Expect systems vendors, ISVs, and SIs to launch programs that will prepackage "building blocks" and "technology stacks" that will ease the transition to converged infrastructure. Once these CI projects have been completed, customers will have the option to install "private clouds" inside the firewall — or to move workloads to public cloud services from outside providers. 3. Infrastructure Renewal Initiatives Will Increasingly Involve Cloud Migration Considerations in 2010; Workloads Will Be the Critical Pivot Points for These Decisions For vendors, 2009 was largely a year of strategic positioning regarding the cloud. The market was awash with strategic vision, which included new offerings, partnerships, and acquisitions all aimed at garnering customer mindshare regarding all things cloud. Unfortunately, the market was in the middle of one of the deepest worldwide recessions since World War II, and most IT buyers consciously disengaged themselves from the conversation. This meant that most IT customers had less interest than anytime in recent memory for "market-tecture" and vendors' "vision" for the market, as they simply worked to survive the economic downturn. The good news for systems vendors is that these same customers are now waking up — and re-evaluating their IT infrastructure needs for 2010, and beyond. They are faced with an aging, but rapidly evolving, infrastructure, which will drive one very basic, but fundamental, question — namely, whether to refresh their traditional IT infrastructure, outsource to the public cloud, or opt for some amalgamation in between. Based on ongoing IDC Workloads research, IDC believes that custom and transactional applications will be more likely to move to private clouds, inside the enterprise — and that collaborative, CRM, and personal application will be more likely to move to public clouds. ©2010 IDC #221796 3
  • 5. 4. 2010 Will Be a Crossover Year for Virtualization; More Virtual Servers Will Be Shipped than Physical Servers as Adoption Increases and VM Densities Rise Server virtualization has forever changed how customers manage their datacenters. IDC believes that the next phase in virtualization will require a reinvention of IT policies and procedures, and continued adoption of automation tools will be key as virtual machine densities rise and customers find themselves facing virtual server sprawl issues. Enterprise customers will find themselves grappling with virtual machine sprawl issues, while IDC expects that the next wave of adoption among SMB customers will be facilitated by hosting providers. As the needs of the enterprise begin to turn to management constraints, large virtualization customers will have to begin to more seriously consider converged platforms as a means to lower the overhead of installation and maintenance of systems infrastructure, particularly as a means to reduce networking bottlenecks and to enable higher rates of VM densities. At the other end of the spectrum, small businesses will likely turn to service providers to drive a virtualization strategy rather than seek to architect these solutions themselves. Look for cloud-based offerings that make possible the adoption of virtualization for this typically IT-constrained constituent and deliver compute cycles at increasingly lower price points. One trend that continued to run its course during the downturn was the continued adoption of server virtualization, which IDC sees as a fundamental element in the shift toward cloud-based IT service delivery. IDC believes that existing virtualization customers will continue to press forward and to deepen their ongoing usage of virtualization technologies including the implementation of policy-based automation, self-provisioning, and metering and chargeback as the evolution toward private clouds accelerates. Additionally, public cloud offerings, including SaaS offerings, will become much more widely used for CRM and collaboration for customers facing expensive upgrades at the same time they face resource challenges and changes in work patterns (virtual teams, remote work, etc.). All of this will have a negative impact on the server market as the shift toward both public and private cloud will drive higher resource utilization across the industry. Today these workloads drive about 15% of all server spending, and even modest increases in utilization will have a material impact on the market. 5. The Relatively Homogenous x86 Volume Market Will Begin Bifurcating into a Value- Driven Market, with Microservers at the Low End and Scalable, Multicore Servers at the High End of the x86 Server Range Currently, the x86 market is driven by volume over value. As of 3Q09, x86 servers generated more than 90% of shipments in the server market but only 60% of the 4 #221796 ©2010 IDC
  • 6. customer revenue. Most x86 servers are shipped with two or four sockets as rack- optimized or blade servers and are outfitted with quad-core processors. Led by advances in microprocessor technology, the range of x86 server products will expand in 2010. IDC expects a bifurcation of the volume-driven x86 market, with microservers at the low end and scalable, multicore servers at the high end. Over the long term, IDC sees the x86 market being pulled in two directions. This does not mean that, overnight, the "meat and potatoes" or two- to four-socket, quad-core servers will disappear. Low-end x86 servers will run on small microprocessors, such as VIA's Nano and Intel's Atom, and they are designed to run light, simple workloads. These servers will live primarily in megadatacenters for Web hosters and service providers. At the high end will be x86 servers based on processors with 8–12 cores; these will run heavier workloads, such as scalable databases and enterprise applications, or support highly virtualized environments. In addition, a new array of microservers, cloud-optimized servers, bladed appliances, and scalable systems will add more color to the generally standardized x86 server market. IDC believes that this evolution in the market is a welcome one. Instead of deploying increasing amounts of x86 servers with little regard to what workload will run on them, end users and vendors alike will tailor their offerings to run specific solutions or "bundles" of software. These systems will be based on the end users' needs driving the design for the technology's ability to meet those needs. 6. Advances in x86 Processor Architectures Will Drive Multicore to New Levels with Releases of 8- and 12-Core CPUs, Which Will Push x86 Servers Upmarket to Address High- End Workloads, Including Ones Traditionally Run on Unix Servers The move from quad-core to many-core (with 8 or more cores per processor) will begin for vendors in 2010, with Intel and AMD both launching many-core microprocessors. The question is whether the market will follow suit, and, if yes, which company and why. IDC believes that many IT managers will decide to stick with quad core as most quad-core machines are currently experiencing low utilization rates. For certain workloads, such as databases, IT managers may decide to take advantage of the increased performance available on these new systems. For other workloads, the jump to many-core will be too risky and too difficult to manage. IDC expects that low-end RISC and Unix workloads will find an attractive home on these high-performance x86 servers. Despite this bleeding-edge shift toward 8- and 12-core computing for heavy workloads, IDC believes the majority of IT managers will remain content with quad-core processors, at least until applications are written to fully utilize multithreading and parallel computing. ©2010 IDC #221796 5
  • 7. 7. After Weathering the Recession, Blade Server Sales Will Accelerate Faster than Any Other Market Segment in 2010, Driven by IT's Quest for Flexible Deployments and Unified Management The blade server segment has performed exceedingly well during the recession relative to the other market segments. The converge nature of the platform and the high rate of virtualization that takes on blade servers are two of the key factors that will drive adoption in 2010. The value proposition of blade systems, beyond consolidation and system density, has become increasingly clear to customers. IT organizations are realizing that blade technologies can help optimize their IT environments enabling them to keep pace with the ever-changing business demands. Cost-conscious companies have become sensitive to operational expenditures in addition to their capital expenditures, and as such, IT managers will increasingly focus on total cost of ownership (TCO). The integrated nature of the platform benefits companies by simplifying their IT while improving asset utilization, IT flexibility, and energy efficiency. Additionally, IDC expects blades to gain traction with higher-end workloads as vendors expand the chip architecture of the blade portfolio beyond x86- based blades. The enhanced reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features of CISC- and EPIC-based blades will allow IT organizations to break down the distinct IT silos and shift mission-critical applications into an all-in-one blade system. 8. Oracle's Acquisition of Sun Will Change the Dynamics of the Server Market as Oracle Focuses on Building Scale-Up, High-Value Servers for the Enterprise Datacenter — and Selling Software for Scale-Out, High-Volume x86 Server Deployments Oracle, one of the largest pure-play software companies worldwide, is acquiring Sun Microsystems, which derived most of its revenue from services and hardware products. The resulting company will have, on Day One, more than $30 billion in annual revenue and more than 100,000 employees worldwide. The "big picture" takeaways from the merger will be that Oracle will be able to optimize integrated technology stacks for converged infrastructure, including technology stacks based on Sun servers and storage, Oracle databases, Oracle middleware, and Oracle applications. Some of Oracle-Sun's server competitors may have to partner to get the entire "stack," but Oracle will have the option of designing integrated solutions in-house — many of them scalable, midrange and high-end "value" systems. The top competitor in Oracle's sights will be IBM, with its System z mainframes and Power Systems scalable servers. But there will also be co-opetition (cooperation and competition) in the marketplace, as Oracle continues to provide software components that run on other vendors' scalable servers (e.g., databases) and to provide software solutions for high-volume x86 servers from HP and Dell. 6 #221796 ©2010 IDC
  • 8. IDC expects Oracle management to select a few key Sun executives to run the hardware business, given that the dynamics of a hardware business are so different from those of a software business. However, Oracle's oversight of business operations will likely result in near-term reorganization and business-unit cutbacks, including near-term changes in Sun's supply-chain and distribution/logistics to ensure efficient operations, resulting in a Sun business that is additive to Oracle's revenue and profitability in 2010. Strategically, the Sun acquisition will give Oracle the opportunity to manage the future course of Java, which is especially important as a unifying element of heterogeneous, mixed-platform enterprise computing. Java runs on all server architectures and all types of operating systems, with its "write once, run anywhere" approach to movable code, which expands the total available market (TAM) for applications and workloads based on Java compared with those that run on one or two platforms only. Oracle has said the Java Community Process will continue, as will the JavaOne conference. Post the acquisition, Oracle gained control of the Solaris and OpenSolaris Unix operating systems, which are widely deployed in a wide array of vertical markets (e.g., financial services, telecommunications, government). All of this represents a tremendous up-selling opportunity into the Solaris installed base for Oracle servers, middleware, applications, databases, and professional services. Sun's competitors got a head-start in their competitive replacement programs during the nine-month period from the announcement of the Oracle-Sun deal on April 20, 2009, to finalization in late January, so Oracle will need to up-level the marketing for Sun server products following the merger. However, Oracle appears to have used the lengthy approval time to think through its product strategies, to plan its next moves — and to prepare for some fast-paced execution on those plans. 9. Customers Will Focus on the Operational and Business Impacts of the Datacenter as the Vendor Marketing Emphasis Shifts from "Green" to "Energy Efficient" Sentiments for a "green" or environmentally friendly datacenter will cool among the customer base, as the emphasis continues to shift toward the operational impact of an energy-efficient datacenter. Due to forthcoming regulations, carbon emissions will still be a consideration for corporations, yet the focus of initiatives will be on improving the power delivery and cooling systems of IT facilities to reduce operational expenses and risk — and to improve IT availability. Datacenter managers will place greater emphasis on operating the datacenter at higher levels of efficiency. The combination of energy-efficient servers, optimized cooling technologies, and energy management software tools is becoming a cornerstone of this strategy. IDC expects the customer to shift toward energy-efficient systems during normal refresh cycles to reverse the trend of increasing power consumption, deploy energy monitoring/management software tools to gain a better understanding of the datacenter environment, and adopt cooling technologies such as containment, which improves efficiencies by separating the hot and cold airflows within the datacenter. IDC believes the market adoption will be greatest with these ©2010 IDC #221796 7
  • 9. solutions because they are relatively simple to deploy and they are nondisruptive to datacenter operations. 10. 2010 Will Herald the Beginning of Recovery for the Enterprise Datacenter Market and Help Fuel the Ongoing Growth of the Scale-Out Datacenter 2010 will herald the beginning of recovery for the enterprise datacenter market, and it will help fuel the ongoing growth of the scale-out, modular datacenter. Third-party datacenter providers will continue to do well, as Web 2.0 companies building out their infrastructure prefer third-party independent services and as traditional enterprise customers face temporary facilities bottlenecks that were brought about by limited investments in new datacenter construction during 2009. The enterprise datacenter market will continue to prefer retrofitting existing facilities for the next two years as they begin to rework their long-term datacenter strategies that will eventually include new construction. Capital constraints will push IT organizations to reconsider both leasing strategies and third-party datacenter providers, at least until capital budgets significantly improve to a level that can support new datacenter construction costs. Most of the retrofit opportunity will exist in changes to electrical and mechanical infrastructure — and will increasingly include alternative power and cooling solutions, such as free cooling. Third-party datacenter providers will continue to do well in support of growth for their Web 2.0 company customers, and they will be highly valued for their ability to quickly instantiate high- quality datacenter space for large, scalable environments. ESSENTIAL GUIDANCE  For systems vendors: Vendors will appreciate the renewed growth, however moderate it proves to be, in 2010. However, a new period of co-opetition (competition and cooperation) will evolve, as battle lines are redrawn. The familiar lines of competition will change, as converged infrastructure is "topped" by software solutions and software "bundles." New partnerships will emerge — and old ones may fray, as the vendors reposition their server products as the "engines" for technology stacks. Vendors should identify new opportunities as they emerge — whether by geographic region, by industry segment, or by software solution. Indeed, software and applications and workloads will likely be the leading drivers for new server deployments — and much of the architectural detail will be integrated into the total solution.  For software vendors: If 2010 was a dance floor, then all the ISVs would have to update their dance cards. The reason: the industry is moving to provide integrated "technology stacks" combining server hardware with optimized software stacks. As a result, multiple partnerships may be called for, as each server vendor seeks to differentiate its solution-stack offerings. So, for ISVs, the watchword will be to keep looking to expand/extend the current list of partnerships — and to emphasize ease of use and low-cost maintenance — as you ramp up marketing for your software solutions. 8 #221796 ©2010 IDC
  • 10.  For value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators (SIs): The role of VARs may be rapidly changing, as systems vendors increasingly work directly with ISVs to optimize hardware/software stacks. As that occurs, VARs need to shift their focus from integration of the stacks alone to helping customers more with ease of use, training of IT staff at customer sites — and monitoring of the whole technology solution, once it is deployed in the customer site. Of course, preconfigured solutions will be one path that customers will take — while many others will resume long-standing patterns of installing new software on existing, upgraded, and brand-new hardware. These meat-and-potato installations will continue to account for a large "slice" of the overall demand for servers, particularly in small and midsize businesses. LEARN MORE Related Research  Worldwide Server Energy Expense 2009–2013 Forecast (IDC #221346, December 2009)  Dell's Efficient Datacenter Solutions Appear on the Scene (IDC #lcUS22133909, December 2009)  Server Workloads 2009: Understanding the Applications Behind the Deployment (IDC #220870, November 2009)  HP Announces Converged Infrastructure for Servers, Storage and Networking (IDC #lcUS22080509, November 2009)  Cisco, VMware, EMC Announce Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) (IDC #220734, November 2009)  Blades Recession Proof? Converged Nature of Platform Sustaining Market (IDC lcUS21998609, September 2009)  Mainframe Directions in the Multiplatform Datacenter, 2009–2013: Today's Workloads and Future Outlook (IDC #219797, September 2009)  U.S. and Worldwide Server Installed Base 2009–2013 Forecast (IDC #219110, July 2009)  Worldwide Blade Server 2009–2013 Forecast (IDC #218374, May 2009)  Worldwide x86 Hardware Refresh 2009 Vendor Analysis: The Nehalem Factor (IDC #218130, May 2009)  Worldwide and Regional Server 2009–2013 Forecast (IDC #217579, April 2009)  Oracle Announces It's Acquiring Sun Microsystems (IDC #218151, April 2009)  Understanding IT Consolidation: A Demand-Side View (IDC #217521, March 2009)  Cisco Expands Datacenter Product Line: Announces Unified Computing System (IDC #217430, March 2009) ©2010 IDC #221796 9
  • 11. Synopsis This IDC study provides our top 10 predictions for the worldwide server market in 2010. This "10 for '10" list provides analysis for each of the predictions listed, and it provides the rationale for each prediction being made. This document offers the views of IDC's server group analysts for what major transitions will start, continue, or complete during 2010. A list of reference documents is also provided. The worldwide server market saw a sharp downturn in 2009, as the economic downturn pushed revenue down by double digits compared with CY08 and unit shipments dipped below the 8-million-unit record set in 2008," said Jean S. Bozman, research vice president, IDC Enterprise Platforms Group. "IDC believes that the server market will see single-digit growth and overall stabilization of demand. And yet, there will be a new "normal" whose shape has not yet been seen. Pockets of faster growth may emerge in some areas of Asia/Pacific in 2010, but most regions will see moderate improvements in revenue and unit shipments compared with 2009." Copyright Notice This IDC research document was published as part of an IDC continuous intelligence service, providing written research, analyst interactions, telebriefings, and conferences. Visit www.idc.com to learn more about IDC subscription and consulting services. To view a list of IDC offices worldwide, visit www.idc.com/offices. Please contact the IDC Hotline at 800.343.4952, ext. 7988 (or +1.508.988.7988) or sales@idc.com for information on applying the price of this document toward the purchase of an IDC service or for information on additional copies or Web rights. Copyright 2010 IDC. Reproduction is forbidden unless authorized. All rights reserved. 10 #221796 ©2010 IDC