Who has been the largest (or at least one of the largest) server manufacturer in the world since the turn of the millennium, but whose servers nobody knows? No, this time the trail doesn’t lead to China, but to Silicon Valley, where Google uses its own servers to meet the considerable computer requirements for its search engine and advertising platform. According to Gartner estimates, Google had around 2.5 million servers in use in 2016 – today it could already be twice as many. Google is itself one of the world’s largest system houses in this respect.
Similar to Google, other cloud providers are no longer traditionally ordering their servers from manufacturers such as Dell or IBM, but filling their data centers with their own productions. Whether Salesforce, Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon – they all ensure that the server market as we knew it “evaporates” in the cloud.
The cloud might therefore represent a considerable risk for system houses that have so far concentrated on the installation of servers, storage and networks at the customer’s site. Who needs system houses when the servers are invisibly expanded rack by rack in the cloud data center and are therefore out of reach of the system service providers? System houses in the desktop sector are also being replaced by the cloud because updates are downloaded regularly via the cloud. The classic “system vendor”, who travels from PC to PC with a “platinum CD” to play the latest release, is as passé as the stoker on an electric locomotive. This is one of the reasons why smaller system houses are increasingly joining forces to form larger units. This gives them a chance to reach the critical size to, for example, offer their customers cost-effective managed services that keep the users’ infrastructure in good shape via the cloud and on behalf of the large cloud providers. But it is more lucrative for system houses to take on the complex and heterogeneous infrastructure of their customers and align it with digital transformation.
This includes a “modern pentathlon” of integration services that system houses have so far been happy to neglect:
- Application integration: the software world is no longer as monolithic as the large application houses would like it to be. But the integration of the most diverse application architectures is not the core business of the standard providers. Here, system houses also have a huge market under the cloud.