SAN JOSE, Calif. – A second tier of cloud service providers is emerging, driving heady growth for system provider Quanta Computer Inc., the server division of the world’s largest notebook maker. The company reported it shipped 1.2 million servers in 2012, up 19 percent from the previous year.
The brunt of Quanta’s growth came from direct sales to big data centers which now make up 65 percent of its revenues, up from 35 percent in 2011. The Taiwanese ODM has traditionally made servers mainly for the top U.S. brand suppliers.
In 2013, Quanta expects its server sales will grow another ten per cent in units and 50 percent in revenues as direct sales to data centers becomes 85 percent of its business. “This year I am targeting about 20 customers,” said Mike Yang, general manager of Quanta Computer’s cloud business unit, in an interview in San Jose.
That’s up significantly from prior years, although Yang won’t give specific numbers. New customers include companies growing to a size where they can no longer depend on traditional cloud service suppliers, but need to have their own systems. Increasingly customers are asking for entire racks of integrated servers, switches and storage arrays, he said.
Yang declined to name his new customers. Previously, he noted Quanta supplies systems to Facebook and Korea Telecom. The company set up an office in Fremont, Calif. last year and will open one in Seattle this year to support local customers, he said.
Separately, Quanta is working with customers to define target apps for servers based on the multicore processors from startup Tilera, in which Quanta has an investment. The lack of floating point support in the architecture means the processors will be confined to niche applications in the data center, not mainstream servers, he said.
In addition, Quanta just started shipping small quantities of microservers using Intel’s Atom-based Centerton processors. Yang expects customers will take about two months to evaluate the systems before determining how or whether they will be deployed.
“We believe the microserver design can address Web hosting--a lot of customers are interested in that now but it’s at an early stage,” Yang said.
Yang is skeptical about ARM-based servers despite Baidu’s recent adoption of the Marvell Armada as a storage server. The server software for ARM is still in an early stage of development and 64-bit chips will not emerge until next year, he noted.