Blocks and Files Facebook and other vast data-centre operators such as Google, Amazon and Baidu are reportedly shunning storage arrays from Dell, EMC, HP and NetApp for cheap boxes from Taiwan.
According to supply chain insiders, the dominant social network is going to buy bargain storage kit from Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs), which design and produce hardware from a customer's specifications. Electronics makers Quanta Computer and Wistron are invited to bid for Facebook's supply contracts.
By buying standardised arrays, defined by its Open Compute Project standard, and running its own software, Facebook can save a huge amount of money. Reports based on information from Far East supply chain sources, particularly before any contracts have been signed, are not always accurate, so we are in pinch-of-salt territory.
This decision to use ODMs for storage gear comes after the web giants turned to these handy factories for their servers: Digitimes points out that Google buys all its servers from ODMs and Amazon uses them for about 30 per cent of its machines.
These ODMs could start selling their standardised hardware via distribution channel partners to businesses in the West and beyond. At the same time, Amazon, Baidu and other cloud-computing giants are expected to expand their cloudy services as businesses buy fewer servers and storage arrays.
We're reminded of a startup called DEY Storage which says it can bring Amazon, Facebook and Google-style storage to businesses by "unbundling storage management from the physical layer to provide customers with a storage system which is massively scalable and designed to align and integrate with their services-based infrastructures”.
Mainstream server, storage and network switch vendors may have to buy into a Taiwanese ODM and learn about a business model that could disrupt their own trade and damage their existing income streams. ®