A server is a computer program or device that provides resources, data, services, or programs to other computers, known as clients, over a network. Types of servers include web servers, file servers, network servers, and database servers, although they are often referred to as dedicated servers because they carry out specific tasks for a specific purpose. In 2020, global server market revenues reached over 91 billion U.S. dollars, with 12.15 million server shipments worldwide.
Data centers and HPC
Data centers, centralized locations where computing and networking equipment is concentrated, can house multiple servers stacked in racks that are placed in rows. As a result, these are often described as server farms, consisting of thousands of computers that require a large amount of power to run and to keep cool. Where computer servers are used in this way to solve complex problems, it is often referred to as high-performance computing (HPC). In 2020, HPC server revenues amounted to 11.85 billion U.S. dollars, with revenues generated by the global HPC market as a whole approaching 24 billion U.S. dollars in the same year.
Notable server vendors include Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Inspur, Lenovo, and IBM. These companies also rank highly within the hyperconverged systems market, providing solutions that combine servers, storage, and networking with intelligent software, eliminating inefficiencies and accelerating computing ability. In addition to the manufacturers, server operating systems can also vary, with Windows and Linux most popular. Similarly, there is also a choice in the type of processor used by servers, with the x86 server variety accounting for the majority of total server shipments.
Looking ahead, servers represent an important opportunity for the global semiconductor industry, notably hardware accelerations to enable superior operational capabilities. Matrix workloads, those that require large amounts of data to be processed in real-time, include systems of artificial intelligence (AI), real-time analytics, robotics, and autonomous vehicles. Arm-based technology is expected to proliferate the server market, delivering greater processing power while using less energy and requiring less cooling than similar technology based on x86 servers. Arm-based servers are also expected to have a growing impact on cloud data centers and edge computing, with cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft investing in the development of Arm-based servers.
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Research expert covering the global hardware industry