In response to explosive generative AI and large language model (LLM) demand, major cloud service providers and leading server brands are stepping up efforts toward AI servers, with a focus on ramping up their procurement of high-end AI servers featuring accelerators with high bandwidth memory (HBM) integrated.
Global server shipments slipped 5.7% sequentially in the second quarter and are likely to see only single-digit on-quarter growth in the third quarter due to brand vendors and CSPs both turning conservative toward the second half of the year, even though the new mainstream server CPU platforms are ready for supply.
Demand for generative AI (Gen AI) and large language model (LLM) is rising rapidly, driven by the emergence of ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by OpenAI. For their large scale as well as the massive data sets and resources required to train LLMs, cloud service providers (CSP) are generally adopting the method of combining inference and prompt engineering for their AI solutions to support clients' customization needs.
Computex 2023 was hosted at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from May 30 through June 2 and DIGITIMES Research paid a visit to the show to survey and outline the trends that new AI servers showcased at the event feature including the increasing popularity of models powered by Nvidia's HGX H100 among the suppliers; AI servers with PCIe support trending toward high-density and high-application-flexibility development; servers powered by Nvidia's GH200 boasting the best performance running Nvidia's Large Language Model (LLM) and Nvidia's release of MGX reference server designs.
Global server shipments performed weaker than DIGITIMES Research had anticipated, slipping 13.8% sequentially to fall below four million units. Having a lower comparison base in the same quarter a year ago and the fact that brand vendors are expected to begin volume shipments of servers with new CPU platforms, overall server shipments are expected to witness a low single-digit sequential growth in the second quarter of 2023.
Fourth-quarter 2022 global server shipments declined 7.1% from the prior quarter and 4.3% from the prior year and the volumes are expected to decline further by over 10% both on-quarterly and on-yearly in the first quarter of 2023
Taiwan-based manufacturers' combined 2022 server-related revenue is estimated to have grown nearly 16% to amount to NT$2.12 trillion, but in 2023, the amount will rise only 6.4% amid the weak global economy.
Amid a weak global economy, server brands and China-based server vendors will only have limited shipment growth in 2023 while cloud services providers will expand their data centers on a smaller scale compared to 2022.
Global server shipments went up 4.3% sequentially in the third quarter of 2022 due to rising demand from public cloud services providers and server brand vendors as well as ODMs' deferred orders from the previous quarter.
Digitimes Research forecasts a 5.2% increase in 2023 global server shipments, mainly driven by large US-based cloud service providers actively expanding their datacenter infrastructure. On top of that, the IC and component supply will gradually return to normal with COVID-19 becoming like the flu and Intel as well as AMD producing new-generation CPUs in volume is expected to spur some upgrade demand.
According to Digitimes Research's statistics and analyses, as China responded to COVID-19 resurgences with strict lockdown measures, which disrupted supply chain operations, and manufacturers still struggled with the problem of ICs and components having mixed levels of shortages, second-quarter 2022 global server shipments exhibited a 3.3% sequential growth, falling short of the forecast of nearly 9% growth given in April.
Processor suppliers Intel, AMD and Nvidia as well as server vendors QCT, Ingrasys, Gigabyte, Supermicro and Tyan had demonstrated their new offerings via hosting events themselves or participating in major international exhibitions such as Computex 2022 and ISC 2022 during the first half of 2022.