As the new year looms, thoughts turn once again to our annual reading of the tea leaves, in this case focused on what I see coming in server land. We’ve just published the full report, Predictions for 2014: Servers & Data Centers, but as teaser, here are a few of the major highlights from the report:

1.      Increasing choices in form factor and packaging – I&O pros will have to cope with a proliferation of new form factors, some optimized for dense low-power cloud workloads, some for general purpose legacy IT, and some for horizontal VM clusters (or internal cloud if you prefer). These will continue to appear in an increasing number of variants.

2.      ARM – Make or break time is coming, depending on the success of coming 64-bit ARM CPU/SOC designs with full server feature sets including VM support.

3.      The beat goes on – Major turn of the great wheel coming for server CPUs in early 2014.

4.      Huge potential disruption in flash architecture – Introduction of flash in main memory DIMM slots has the potential to completely disrupt how flash is used in storage tiers, and potentially can break the current storage tiering model, initially physically with the potential to ripple through memory architectures.

Taken at a high-level, the picture of the upcoming year is one of continued evolution, wheels within wheels. While the traditional clock of semiconductor process introductions will continue to turn, it will be layered with significant innovations in packaging and internal server node architecture. In essence, 2014 will be another year of significant technology introductions and commensurate challenges to I&O to stay abreast of the changes and their implications for their business stakeholders.

In addition, be sure to check back soon for our forthcoming predictions for private cloud infrastructure in 2014 (coauthored with Lauren Nelson).