Servers and business storage

IBM laying off up to 25 percent of 'hardware' division

IBM has confirmed that it's laying off a portion of its workforce in order to focus on new priority areas, like the cloud, analytics, and cognitive computing. This means certain divisions of the company must see cuts.

"As reported in our recent earnings briefing, IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry," IBM spokesman Doug Shelton told CNET in a statement. "To that end, IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as cloud, analytics and cognitive computing, … Read more

Time to extend that support contract? No more free firmware for HP servers

Hewlett-Packard server customers might have a new expense to worry about for older ProLiant models: the company no longer gives away firmware updates to just anyone.

Instead, the update is available only if the machine is covered by a warranty or service contract. That's got some folks angry.

"I am really enraged by this action from HP," said Glen Drager, a school district network administrator, in a forum post at IT discussion site Spiceworks where others also complained. Among his reasons: hardware updates could become more expensive, buying used servers could become unwise, and it raises the … Read more

Take a trip down memory lane to Google's first data center

Before Urs Hölzle became Google's first chief engineer, he took a tour of the company's server room at the Exodus data center in Santa Clara, Calif. Not yet a Google employee, Hölzle was taken there by Google co-founder Larry Page on February 1, 1999, on possibly the shortest Google data center tour of all time.

"You couldn't really 'set foot' in the first Google cage because it was tiny," Hölzle said via Google+ on Tuesday, almost 15 years to the day since that tour. Hölzle continues to … Read more

Behind Google profits, massive spending on computing gear

You think it's easy printing money at Google? Think again.

The company on Thursday reported enviable financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013, with revenue of $16.86 billion, up 17 percent, and net income of $3.38 billion. It's just another three months of success for Google's money machine, but to make it work Google has to spend a gargantuan amount on its own infrastructure -- chiefly servers, networking equipment, and the data centers that house them.

In the fourth quarter, Google spent $2.26 billion on that infrastructure -- a few pennies short of … Read more

Box said to have secretly filed for an IPO

Cloud-storage service Box may be ready to go public.

The company has secretly filed paperwork for an initial public offering, reported Quartz on Thursday. Box has tapped banks Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan Chase as its top underwriters and could be looking to raise about $500 million in an IPO, said Quartz.

If true, it's not an unexpected move. CEO Aaron Levie said early last year that the company was eyeing an IPO in 2014. Box is aiming to hold its IPO in the second quarter, reported The New York Times.

Responding to a request for comment, … Read more

IBM sells its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion

Giving up a years-long fight for profits in a highly competitive part of the market for powerful networked machines, IBM has agreed to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion, the companies announced Thursday.

The x86 server line uses Intel and AMD microprocessors, typically beefed-up cousins to those that run the vast majority of personal computers. IBM in 2005 sold its PC business to Lenovo, too, but it's keeping its other server lines -- its mainframes and those that use its own Power processors.

The sale reflects the changing dynamics of the market for servers, … Read more

Twitter gives SPDY a leg up on Apple hardware

Twitter has released open-source software that iOS and OS X programmers can use to build in Google's SPDY technology for faster Web connections.

The software, called CocoaSPDY, is a library of prewritten software that programmers can incorporate into their own apps, said Twitter programmer Mike Schore in a blog post Thursday.

SPDY is designed to speed up Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the standard that governs how Web browsers fetch pages from Web servers. Some SPDY ideas are being incorporated into HTTP 2.0, but meanwhile, Google and other allies continue to advance SPDY.

Twitter said its tests have shown … Read more

Nginx upgrade funded by fans of Google's SPDY Web protocol

SPDY, Google's technology for speeding up Web browsing, is set to advance a step next month with support for the latest version in widely used Web site software called Nginx.

Three companies that like Google's approach -- Automattic, MaxCDN, and CloudFlare -- are funding Nginx developers to update its SPDY support to version 3.1, CNET has learned. Under the deal, SPDY 3.1 should arrive in Nginx 1.5 in January, a source familiar with the partnership said.

Nginx declined to comment on the plans, but its software supports an earlier version of SPDY and an upgrade … Read more

Google designing its own server chips? Well, maybe

Google is considering making its own server chips, Bloomberg reported Thursday. It's possible, but take the story with some grains of salt.

The idea would be to make server chips based on ARM Holdings' designs, the report said, citing one person familiar with the matter and raising the possibility that server chip giant Intel could be hurt by the move.

I've watched the server market and Google for years, and I'll agree it's possible. Google builds its own servers -- thousands and thousands of them -- as well as its software. Extending farther down into the … Read more

Backblaze: Enterprise drives aren't worth the price premium

Backblaze recently concluded that its use of consumer-grade hard drives makes economic sense. The online backup company has now gone a step further, determining that enterprise-grade drives aren't even more reliable -- at least in its circumstances.

Enterprise drives are designed to work amid the vibrations common in fan-cooled machines bolted to metal racks and are tested to work for many, many hours. But in a study published Wednesday, Backblaze decided they don't actually offer better reliability than their consumer-grade counterparts.

"Are enterprise drives worth the cost? From a pure reliability perspective, the data we have says … Read more