Big shocker! Server sales are down thanks to virtualisation! Whoda thunk it! Duh! What is news is that the type and design of servers that manufacterers are trying to sell has changed.
That Network World article tells us that blade servers with integrated storage (I/O) is the way to go. You can get more blades into a rack than you can with 1U servers. For example, a 42U rack can take 64 * HP BL460C blades or 42 * DL360 rack servers.
I noted something interesting. Manufacturers “are still fighting the perception that blade servers–which make up only 15 percent of the total market–are more expensive than other servers and that consolidated infrastructure products would be more expensive still”. The reality is that blades are more expensive than rack server installations unless you are doing massive installs. A blade server by itself is quite a cheap unit. But add on the mezzanine cards, enclosure, switches (one per card/socket), enclosure admin module, remote management, power supplies, ….. well, you get the picture.
For me, my server decision making process starts with CPU/RAM capacity and my ability to monitor them with OpsMgr. I’ve preached about the latter enough. Once I have the basic requirements, iron is iron. I’d prefer blade servers with integrated networking because I hate cabling and I’m a disaster at it. But to be honest, storage is more important. That affects performance, scalability, provision automation, backup (via VSS provider), and disaster recovery design.
And that’s what hardware salesmen who anticipated the changes brough by virtualisation have been focusing on. Server sales have gone down. The individual units are more powerful but revenue has gone down. Storage requirements, on the other hand, have gotten more complex and larger. Virtualisation with good performance requires more disk rather than less.