Computer servers have been the workhorses of the Internet and data networks for two decades, responding to requests for services and files from a growing range of end-user systems that demand quick access to data, video, audio, web pages, and search engines. Price erosion and the weak global economy have lowered server sales volumes in the past two years, but this computer market is expected to see a modest rebound in 2014 with worldwide revenues rising about 3% to $54.6 billion, followed by stronger growth in 2015 and 2016, according to IC Insights’ new 2014 edition of IC Market Drivers—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits.
Servers, which accounted for an estimated 13% of total computer systems revenues in 2013, are forecast to reach record-high sales in the next three years before the next economic slowdown pulls the market down again in 2017 (Figure 1), says the new 2014 IC Market Drivers report. Server sales are forecast to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 1.5% between 2012 and 2017.
Server unit shipment growth will be stronger in the next several years, driven by purchases of new less-expensive microservers, says the 2014 IC Market Drivers report. High-density microservers contain many central processing units (CPUs) on microprocessors and emphasize power efficiency for massive amounts of lightweight-computing tasks, such as delivering thousands of web pages to users of smartphones and other mobile systems. New microserver systems are also being aimed at a wider range of data center applications and new cloud-computing services. This computer segment has become a major battleground between Intel and about a half-dozen processor suppliers developing new 64-bit MPUs with ARM CPU cores for server systems.