In the server market, Supermicro prepares for a tough battle against industry heavyweights
If you've been following the server market, you'd know that there's a bit of a shakeup going on. HP is starting to lose a bit of share, while Dell is starting to slowly creep upat the expense of profits. And IBM is once again looking to divest itself of computer manufacturing. In 2005, IBM sold its consumer PC business to Lenovo. These days, IBM is looking to offload part of its server division to the same company.
With all the turmoil taking place, Supermicro is lying in wait. Supermicro CEO Charles Liang founded the company in 1993 (with just five total employees) and has steered the company to growth every year of its existence (the company now has roughly 1,600 employees worldwide). Supermicro might not have the market share of the aforementioned big boys, but it prides itself on being an engineering-driven company that is more nimble when it comes to design innovation and launching new products..
Liang told DailyTech that while he is the company’s founder, CEO and President, he spends about 70 percent of his time in the trenches with the engineers – it’s in his blood.
But that attention to product engineering allows Supermicro to come to market faster with new products based on the latest Intel processors. Liang noted that his company has a wide range of motherboards and systems ready to go to take advantage of Intel’s upcoming Haswellarchitecture, including a more power efficient version of its MicroCloud 3U 8/12 Node SuperServer. Haswell is looking to provide a 5 to 15 percent boost in performance at the same clock speed as Ivy Bridge while providing a lower power profile and better scalability (not to mention the claimed huge boost in GPU performance).
However nimble Supermicro may be, it still has to compete for customers against heavyweights like Dell and HP with 22.2 percent and 25 percent respectively of the global server market according to Gartner in Q1 2013. When asked about how Supermicro hopes to snag customers away from the market leaders, Liang kept repeating a similar mantra: “performance-per-watt”.
According to Liang, performance-per-watt is what sets Supermicro apart from the herd. His company often benchmarks its server products against those from competitors and reckons that comparable offerings from Supermicro are “10 to 16 percent more efficient”. The increased power efficiency adds up to $500 in savings per node every four years in products like the FatTwin SuperServer SYS-F617R3-FT. In terms of capacity-per-U, Liang also points to its 4-node FatTwin SYS-F627R3-RTB+ and its recently launched 4U SuperStorage box SSG-6047R-E1R72L supporting 72x external hot-swap 3.5” HDDs.
When it comes to the company expanding for the future, and grabbing additional market share, Liang notes that Supermicro has invested in its system integration logistics center in the Netherlands to cater to its European customers and a brand new, one million square foot technology park for System Integration, Logistics and Operation located in Taoyuan, Taiwan (the latter of which was a two-year process in securing land, construction, and hiring workers).
Liang feels that his company has its finger on the pulse of the industry, and is gearing up for continued growth this year. But will David (Supermicro) slay Goliath (HP, Dell)? Maybe not just yet, but we all know how that story ended.