Fudge Sunday - What's a Server?by Jay Cuthrell
Reminder: Mark your calendars…
If you enjoyed my last issue, I’ll be providing a summary of sorts this week on Wednesday the 18th of August. I’ll be speaking about multi-cloud data services patterns within gaming and healthcare, convergence, and the world of AR / VR in our future.
I’ll be speaking from 12:36-1:08PM
Along the way, we’ll share successful data first strategies in the Edge, Core, Cloud, and all points in between.
Recap from last week…
Gaming, healthcare, and convergence from edge to core to cloud and all points in between.
Speaking of all points in between…
This week we’ll be looking at recent and coming innovations compute, network, storage, and everything else that goes into what we call servers.
Since this newsletter is trying to stay near the top fold for email reading (like Gmail) before you had “View full message” this will be a short section.
In a nutshell, a server is a contained collection of computing hardware (or software) that provides services to other computing hardware (or software which) could be meant to include other servers or clients (like a laptop which we could also argue can be made to perform the functions of a server). Also, a server can come in many shapes and sizes.
A server can be a big piece of hardware. A server can be small piece of hardware. A server can be software.
A server can look like a box. A server can be made by a Fox(conn).
Confused? Okay. Here’s a picture of a tiny cute little server:
Are you being served?
When someone thinks of servers, there is usually a short list of brands that come to mind. Why? Market share and strong logo oriented marketing is what keeps brands like Dell, HPE, etc. top of mind.
Note: IDC simplifies many different ways to view servers into 3 buckets
- Volume - Volume means these are the types of servers that are vanity free, generic spartan features, and highly valued by hyperscale cloud service providers and similarly ambitious scale oriented companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu which was also known as the “Super 7”.
- Midrange - Midrange are the types of servers most people have when someone says servers with very human friendly front cover bezels, buttons, and human friendly considerations in physical designs within more traditional datacenter settings. In a nutshell, you can point to the front and declare “Oh, that’s a Dell server” because you see a logo or a stylistic fascia.
- High-End - High-End are the types of servers that are sought out when the most intense workloads within high performance computing datacenter settings. Like Midrange, High-End are considered worth the extra cost for extra capabilities as well as capacities and that can also include seeing a logo or a stylistic fascia.
Granted, innovation can occur in multiple places. So, let’s start with a quick look at “Rest of Market” for some interesting stories there.
For this issue, we won’t be looking at barebone servers or open compute servers from Quanta, Wiwynn, or similar. Hungry for that? Click here.
Oxide Computer enters a crowded server market and has raised $20M
So, what’s interesting about Oxide Computer? For starters, the three cofounders, Jessie Frazelle, Bryan Cantrill, and Steve Tuck, share a core mission to bring back integration themes within a server industry more commonly associated with commodification.
By way of comparison, arguably one of the most successful cofounders combinations over the past 3-4 decades is Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, and Soni Jiandani – or MPLS for short. Like MPLS, perhaps Oxide Computer is just the first act’s crescendo of several acts to follow for Cantrill, Tuck, and Frazelle as they capture the flag… or CTF for short.
Pensando Systems entered a crowded server market and raised +$300M
So, what’s interesting about Pensando Systems? Arguably, having a team that’s ½ of the MPLS is still pretty good odds at making a dent in the universe but the embrace of P4.org is worth examining.
To understand the P4.org, step back a bit and think about the network capabilities of a server today. Now, take a look at the future of the network as a lens to see what the implications are for the server.
Now, think about the implications of what IEEE roundtables from a few years ago where discussing in 2017.
This video from SXSW 2017 contains a few slides and quotes from Tom Conte of the Georgia Tech, Tsu-Jae King Liu of the University of California at Berkeley, and Greg Yeric at ARM Research.
Shot and Chaser of the week: What’s a server?
With the backdrop of ML, AI, and O-RAN/5G, this post is a solid overview of trends such as Open Compute Project Accelerator Module (OAM) to Compute Express Link (CXL) to Gen-Z to Data Processing Units (DPU) to 400 Gbps network switches to storage and memory.
An essay from the creator of Tailscale.
One last plug for the road…
Faction multi-cloud data services for Dell EMC PowerScale now available on the Azure Marketplace. By deploying Faction Multi-Cloud Data Services for Dell EMC PowerScale from the Azure Marketplace, customers can take advantage of Azure cloud compute with time-saving deployment and management of Dell EMC PowerScale storage from Faction.
✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️
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