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Who's the greenest x86 vendor of them all?

HP and IBM...kinda', sorta' says survey

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Despite unrelenting ado from every server vendor about their eco-friendly prowess in the data center, the reception of just who paints the most vivid shade of green remains unsubstantial.

A recent survey of IT customers from the Gabriel Consulting Group attempted to shed some light on who is regarded as tops at addressing x86 power, cooling and floorspace issues. The survey was conducted in the second quarter of 2007 and covered 297 enterprise data center denizens who work with their systems on a daily basis.

According to the survey, Hewlett-Packard and IBM came on top — but not by much. As many as 40 per cent of respondents couldn't pick a clear leader in any category.

By the noise the vendors make about green computing, one might expect a distinguished harlequin, or chartreuse lineup. Yet it appears the green x86 landscape is no more vidid than a shade of celadon. Possibly a gray-asparagus if we're being generous.

About 23 per cent of respondents rated HP x86 systems most energy efficient overall. IBM came in second with 20 per cent of the tally. Sun Microsystems was favored by 19 per cent of the eco-concious, and Dell garnered 17 per cent of the vote.

For thermal efficiency, IBM and HP tied with a nod from 22 per cent of the respondents. Sun and Dell trailed at 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

HP also snagged best in show for utilization of server floor space with 25 per cent of the vote. IBM huffed into second with 19 per cent, Sun third at 16 per cent, and Dell fourth at 12 per cent.

IBM took a top honors in power monitoring and management, data center design and advisory services. It was also rated as the vendor best able to improve facilities utilization in future products.

According to the survey, more than 55 per cent of respondents said facility issues "heavily influence" server purchases. Fully 65 per cent said those concerns will become more important in the future.

Yet 30-40 per cent of those polled said they couldn't pick a leader in any category. And none of the vendors claimed a very wide margin of green respect from customers.

"This tells me that there is still a lot of room for any of these four major vendors to carve out a 'we're the greenest' position on the market," said Dan Olds, head analyst at GCG "However, they'll need to develop solid technology and measurement methodologies in order to rise above the industry noise surrounding the topics."

Great, as if we don't get enough green data center e-mails flooding our inboxes.

By the way, currently those metrics are being wrangled up by the likes of the Green Grid, and SNIA for storage. ®

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