Moore’s law alive in the Data Center; Ethernet adapter revenue up 43% YoY

by Cliff Grossner, Senior Research Director & Advisor Cloud & Data Center Research Practice at IHS-Markit


We cannot measure Moore’s law simply in time between generations. Even though it took Intel longer than 2 years to move from 14nm to 10nm silicon, the number of transistors in their 10nm CPUs exceeded Moore’s Law expectation of 2x per 2 years, according to new research by IHS Markit.

For example, improving transistor IC design helped Intel grow transistor density from 37.5 Million Transistor per Square Millimeter (Mtr/mm2)to 100.8 Mtr/mm2 between 2014 and 2017.

“Since 2007 we’ve seen an immense growth in consumer devices, apps, user-generated content and streaming services, as smart phones and social media gained popularity, driving the need for additional data center (DC) server computational capacity to support them. Connected devices and data-intensive applications will continue to fuel global demand for DC compute and push it up significantly ahead of the average growth of the number of transistors on a CPU,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., Senior Research Director and Advisor for the Cloud and Data Center Research Practice at IHS Markit.

“Strong growth in the demand for DC server computation will compel designers of server hardware to think beyond general purpose compute and consider new server architectures purpose-built for parallel computation that will enable artificial intelligence, advanced driver assistance systems and real-time rendering for virtual and augmented reality amongst others,” Cliff added.

More Data Center Compute Market Highlights:

·         Cloud service providers are expected to buy 37% of 2017 DC servers shipped, telco 15% and enterprise 48%.

·         White Box – including all vendors that produce rack server hardware with OS software sold separately, such as QCT, Wiwynn and Inventec – was #1 in units shipped in 3Q17 (23% share) for DC servers.

·         HPE took the #1 sport in server revenue market share (23%), Dell was #2 (19%), and White Box was #3 (17%) in 2Q17

·         Programmable Ethernet adapter revenue was up 7% QoQ and up 43% YoY, hitting $22M in 3Q17

Research Synopsis:

The IHS Markit Data Center Compute Intelligence Service provides quarterly worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2021, analysis and trends for (1) data center servers by form factor[rack, blade, open compute and tower], server class[entry-level, enterprise, large-scale enterprise, large-scale compute and high performance compute], and market segment[Enterprise, Telco and Cloud Service Provider], and (2) Ethernet network adapters by CPU offload[Basic, Offload and Programmable NIC], port speed [1/10/25/40/50/100GE], form factor [stand-up, piggyback and open compite], usage case [storage and server] and market segment. Vendors tracked include Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Cisco, Huawei, Inspur, IBM, Supermicro, Cray, Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, Cavium, and others.


In a separate IHS Markit report:

Hyperscale data center owners are driving growth of renewable energy in data centers

By Maggie Shillington, analyst, cloud and data centers, IHS Markit


  • Between 2 percent and 3 percent of developed countries’ electricity consumption is currently attributed to data centers. For most data centers, the largest operational cost is the electricity used for cooling.
  • Onsite generation is the ideal way to implement renewable energy in data centers. The two most popular renewable energy methods are solar and wind power, due to their high-energy production and relative ease of implementation.
  • Offsite renewable energy sources — primarily utility companies and renewable energy suppliers — are typically the easiest way for data centers to obtain renewable energy. Offsite generation removes the large upfront capital expenses to produce onsite renewable energy and the geographical limitations of renewable energy production methods.
  • Although small data centers have a distinct advantage in using onsite options, owners of hyperscale data centers (i.e., Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook) are driving the growth of renewable energy for data centers.