Feeds

IBM, HP annoy server buyers less than Dell, Sun

x64 FAIL meter

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The Performance Gap

"IBM is the perceived leader in performance, and HP leads in systems management," explains Olds. "Dell is seen as a provider of boxes with little to no differentiation. And while some Sun customers are zealous about Sun iron, the company has not made up the ground between itself and HP and IBM."

The difference in the raw performance across these four vendors that customers say their suppliers are delivering is widening. And as the numbers below show, there is quite a bit of differentiation among these four vendors, even given the commodity nature of the x64 server these days.

Gabriel x64 2008 Fig 02

The differences in the VPI rankings for the four major x64 server vendors is similarly striking, and shows that perceptions among customers using a mix of different server products are hard to change, particularly when it comes to system reliability:

Gabriel x64 2008 Fig 03

Now, Olds knows the difference between perception and reality, and says that the feature set between various x64 server makers is not that different. Dell systems are not that far behind. But he does believe that some vendors do a better job at stressing performance or availability features, and do a better job of marketing these features to customers. The marketing message is slippery, and if it didn't work, vendors wouldn't do it. For instance, IBM has pretty much owned the raw performance metric in the x64 server survey for the past three years. But when you ask customers about the observed performance of the machines in their data centers, IBM and HP have scored a VPI at 100 or higher each time, and Sun has done better than its raw performance metrics above show. Dell also did better, averaging around a 70 VPI across the three surveys. The gap between raw and observed performance is a measure of sorts of the effectiveness of benchmarketing.

If there is another area where HP and IBM are doing better than Dell and Sun, it is in systems management. In the 2008 survey, HP scored a 109.5 VPI on its system management tools (that would be Insight Manager and related tools) and IBM fell quite a bit, from a 114.7 VPI in 2007 with its Systems Director and related tools to a 96.65 VPI in 2008. But Dell rated only a 57.9 VPI in 2008 (up more than five points), and Sun, while up nearly 12 points, is still only at an 88.2 VPI with its systems management tools as rated by those polled by Gabriel Consulting.

Another issue that bothers customers is technology roadmaps. When they invest in a product line, they want to have a sense of what the future product line is going to look like. And as you might expect, HP and IBM seem to be doing the best job here, too. Take a gander at the data for the past three years:

Gabriel x64 2008 Fig 04

Of course, in the case of the x64 server space, the roadmaps are driven mostly by chip makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, and when either of these two sneezes, the server vendors get the cold.

As in past surveys, most of the shops polled have x64 iron from multiple vendors. In the 2008 survey, 22 per cent of the shops polled had three different sever vendors, 37 per cent had four, and 22 per cent had five. Only 7 per cent reported having only one vendor, in fact. And it doesn't look like anyone is getting ready to pick one vendor and buy all their gear from that company, either.

"Since we have had two vendors back in the x86 days, people have been talking about standardizing on one set of products," says Olds. "And vendors have been talking about this, too. But it just ain't happening. Customers love a horse race when it comes to x64 servers." And that is particularly good news for the top four x64 server makers and their competitors, who also want to get a piece of the action. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
Intel teaches Oracle how to become the latest and greatest Xeon Whisperer
E7-8895 v2 chips are best of the bunch, and with firmware-unlocked speed control
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.