back to article How Facebook flipped the data centre hardware market

The rise of Facebook helped to ruin the data centre hardware market, caused IBM to sell its x86 business to Lenovo, spurred HP to embark on an ambitious "Moonshot" server, and encouraged Dell to go private. With the recent acquisition of WhatsApp, it's also adding momentum to the drive of OTT mobile messaging, which is …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hindsight strikes again

    Ah the sweet temptation of hindsight ....creating causality from tenuous correlation.

    Let's find a visible scapegoat and make him bear all our woes... and then let's lynch him and burn him at the stake to release our pent up frustrations. - Ahhh feeling better now?

    Facebook was definitely part of the story, making them the root cause of all evil (however tempting) might be taking things a bit too far.

    1. theblackhand

      Re: Hindsight strikes again


      Intel played a part in the hardware makers demise in that it has moved more of the PC infrastructure onto the CPU which has left less and less room for the server manufacturers to innovate.

      And the larger CPU picture changed from being a straight speed race to spreading load across more cores leading to smaller performance increases for when hardware was upgraded and making virtual machines a more attractive way of using CPU resources.

      Add in the economic picture, where the x86 market got the first round of decent multi-cores in the 2-3 years leading up to the crash in 2008, which extended hardware life cycles and people found they could cope with an old PC or do more on mobile devices, the good times for x86 vendors were over.

      For the large data centre operators, I would have expected Google/Amazon/Microsoft to have more impact than Facebook. Facebook would be part of it, but the big three would contribute significantly more.

  2. Aitor 1


    The HW "manufacturers" decided to be brands, and part rebadge part design, and decidedly, not to make anything.

    For some years, all went well.

    Then they decided to reduce I+D.

    The result: they are now selling commodities, and the real companies that are making the products are selling them.. and the brands can't compete. I guess the MBA guys who decided this will move to another sector to destroy it...

    1. ARP2

      Re: Commodity

      I think that's true for many brands that really do just slap a label on Quanta's boxes. But some box makers do offer innovations in their designs (cooling, layout, networking, etc.) where the some of the additional cost is justified (notice I said "some").

      The OCP will be a boon for the big cloud providers where the costs and administration to select, customize, and maintain your own hardware (or have someone maintain it) pale in comparison to overall spend. I don't know that the admin costs will work for the small to medium shops.

      This is essentially the hardware version of the debate between open source and commercial software. When Open Source first came out, people thought it would decimate the commercial software market, but that ended up not happening. Each has a place in the ecosystem.

  3. big_D Silver badge


    I'm waiting for ED-209 to be let loose in the Facebook boardroom.

  4. John Sanders

    Not surprised OCP is taking over

    When things like remote management access cards are charged an arm and a leg by the big vendors, and most bioses are buggy as hell, hardware quality is going downhill, etc.

    Ditto for the stupid software restrictions (IE: VPN licensing) on networking hardware.

  5. The Alpha Klutz

    here is what nobody likes about servers

    1. expensive

    2. heavy

    3. large

    4. inefficient

    5. already obsolete when you buy them

    so yes if IBM Dell and HP need a kick up the backside then its about time. Frankly I should be able to get a dual Xeon server for the price of a meal in a good restaurant. One that runs cool and quiet enough to put under my TV with no fans so I don't have to clean out the dust. Why cant they just do that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: here is what nobody likes about servers

      Chip and memory costs are the largest driver. So, its not Dell or HP you need to kick, it's Intel. They have a monopoly in x86 servers (which are still dominant).

    2. John Sanders

      Re: here is what nobody likes about servers

      1) That is not always true.

      2) That is not always true.

      3) I agree with this.

      4) That is not always true.

      5) This is how computing works.

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        Re: here is what nobody likes about servers

        I'm still right even if it isn't always true.

        It's like saying AIDS doesn't always kill people, that may be the case, but the reason people don't like getting it is because most of the time it does.

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