White Box Server Market – Growing Trend in Software-defined Data Center Driving Growth

A computer structure in large data centers is called white box server. It is assembled by ODMs (original design manufacturers). It is typically build by assembling the COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components in different ways to provide customization to the customers. It is also possible for a company to construct an in-house white box server using retail computer parts which are commercially available.

However ODM delivers it faster. Major operating systems like Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux along with visualization softwares can be run on a white box server. To prevent unexpected down time clustering techinques are used by a white box server. One of the initiatives in custom built servers is the “Open Compute Project” by Facebook for its data centers. It gives specifications for design for its servers, racks etc.

The market can be segmented based on form factor: Blade, Density Optimized, and Rack & Tower. It can also be segmented based on business type: Data Centers, and Enterprise customers. Other segmentation basis includes: Operating System (Linux, Windows, Unix), Processor (X86, non-X86), and geography.

There is no standard white box server design. White box designs do not have redundant components as branded enterprise servers. White box servers are simple and have modest functionality with lesser costs than branded servers. These are some of the major drivers of the white box server market as giant cloud service providers like AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure are looking for optimal and cost effective off-the-shelf hardware.

Another reason for growing market is low pricing bid for manufacturing by ODMs from China and Taiwan allowing for large volume sales. Another driver for the market is enterprises designing their own server keeping in mind their operational needs. This is leading to increase in vendors who provide flexibility of configuring own severs using available components.

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Increasing micro-mobile and containerized (portable) data centers is also one of the market drivers for white box servers. Also ODMs are have come up with switching products and white box storage that are energy efficient and cost effective hence growing market.

Growing trend in software-defined data center is also a factor for growing market. Ease of deployment and speed are also the factors that are expected to propel the growth of white box server market in coming years. The major challenge faced by the market are brand recognition and sales experience. Another challenge is the unreliable server life span.