Open Compute Project switches rule the data center bare metal roost - report

data center
Open Compute Project-certified switches outgrew legacy switches in the second quarter, according to IHS Markit. (Pixabay)

Open Compute Project (OCP) certified switches were perched on top of the bare-metal data center throne in the second quarter, according to a report. 

According to a report by IHS Markit, vendors’ OCP-certified switches sold in the data center market garnered $221 million in revenue in the second quarter, which gave OCP switches a 55% share.  

With the move to disaggregated hardware and software solutions, IHS Markit doesn't expect OCP switches' growth rate to subside anytime soon. The number of respondents planning to use OCP-certified switches in their data center networks is expected to increase 14 percentage points from 2018 to 2019, according to results from IHS Markit's latest Data Center Network Strategies North American Enterprise Survey - 2018.

IHS Markit said the revenue will also be propelled by the increased demand for open, merchant-silicon-based switches and lower-cost data centers switches, all of which are characteristics exhibited by OCP-based devices.

Facebook launched OCP eight years ago as an open-source hardware initiative to drive the deployment of web-scale operations and services. Today, OCP has thousands of engineers from close to 200 member organizations working on more energy-efficient hardware equipment for the likes of hyperscale data centers and large service providers.

The growth in the bare-metal switch segment is due to several factors, including data center capex reduction directives, an increase in software-defined networking (SDN) deployments and rising adoption of merchant-based and programmable switch silicon, according to IHS Markit. Those same factors are driving OCP-certified switches into the networking limelight while boosting their deployments in data center networks.

“This year’s survey results and the latest DC Networking Market Tracker confirm that OCP-certified switches have moved past the trial and wait-and-see phases,” said Devan Adams, principal analyst at IHS Markit, in a statement. “Customers now are confident in them and are deploying them in critical parts of their data center networks.”

RELATED: Report: OCP storage market will more than double by 2023 to $5.4B

In a previous report, IHS Markit said the demand for storage equipment certified by the OCP was also headed for a growth spurt.

IHS Markit's Data Center Storage Equipment Market Tracker report said that storage equipment certified by the OCP Foundation would more than double from this year to 2023. Driven by more vendors offering products that are OCP-based, global revenue for OCP storage products will blow up from $2.5 billion this year to $5.4 billion in 2023.

Overall, global revenue for bare-metal switches easily surpassed the market for legacy switches during the second quarter. Bare-metal devices in the second quarter attained market-leading growth in the data center switching business, with revenue rising 32% compared to a year earlier as data centers operators increasingly embraced lower cost, commoditized hardware.

Bare-metal switches are expected to account for 34% of all data center ports shipped in 2023, up from 20% in 2018, according to IHS Markit's  Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker - Q2 2019 report.

IHS said the data center network switching market has been stable for an extended period due to various factors, such as the evolution of networking software, increased availability of higher port speeds, declining price-per-port characteristics and the acceptance of open and standardized switch hardware. Due to those factors, bare metal switches have been flourishing in the data center networking market when compared to legacy switches, such as general-purpose and purpose-built models.

“The bare-metal switch segment is projected to undergo long-term growth as hyperscalers, second-tier cloud service providers, telcos and large enterprises expand their deployment of commoditized hardware,” Adams said.

Source: IHS Markit/Informa