Battle of the Server Vendors: Do Buyers Notice?: Page 2

Posted April 12, 2011
By

Drew Robb

Drew Robb


(Page 2 of 2)

Uses don’t seem to give that much credence either, according to GCG.

“Our research clearly shows that customers just don’t see much difference between the major x86 system manufacturers when it comes to energy usage, system density, or the vendor’s ability to maximize facilities usage for their customers,” said Olds. “It’s difficult to make a name for yourself in a certain area when every other vendor is trying to stake out the exact same real estate.”

The survey revealed that more than 60% of users see little, if any, difference in either the energy efficiency or density offered by systems from Dell, HP, IBM or Oracle. Among those who do see any kind of differentiation among the top OEMs, GCG found that HP and IBM tended to lead Dell and Oracle.

“Every vendor is telling a story that emphasizes how many of their systems you can cram into a small area and how little juice they sip,” said Olds.

There’s a lot of noise in the industry surrounding these issues, so customers are understandably confused. While these factors are becoming increasingly important in dictating purchasing decisions, it’s not going to be easy for any of the major vendors to differentiate themselves due to the rapid pace of development by their competitors.”

This is borne out in a parallel field – that of enterprise networking. A recent Gartner study, for example, delved into the approximate costs versus benefits of having an all-Cisco IT setup.

Gartner analyst Mark Fabbi believes that going “all Cisco, all the time” doesn’t work to the customer’s advantage. He questions the common view that you can reduce networking TCO by having only Cisco networking equipment in house.

Barriers Lifting

Meanwhile, GCG sees that the overall efficiency of the data center will become an even more important issue in the future. Thus, the ties between data centers and their facilities management counterparts are likely to become even stronger over time.

“Power, cooling, and floor space consumption are an important factor in purchasing decisions now and will become more important in the future,” said Olds.

In some cases, the duties are also being combined into one overall function. Moran said the big reason is money. As IT plays a greater role in the enterprise, it’s natural that the amount of space needed for the data center would rise.

åBut in many metropolitan areas, it can cost a fortune to buy the space needed to expand computing operations. åIn some cases, bringing in more power to support a mainframe or a huge bank of server blades can be a real problem.

“You can’t always ask the local utility to double your power requirements,” said Moran. “That simply may not be possible in some buildings.”

The consequence is a lot more pressure on CIOs. Ten years back, energy costs didn’t come out of the CIO budget. But Moran said that the days of someone else dealing with energy costs are disappearing. And management is telling those CIOs, much of the time, that they don’t want to pay for a new data center – they have to make do with what they have.

“People care about things that are in their budgets,” said Moran. “CIOs have become very concerned about power and space planning as these areas can rapidly constrain their operations.”


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Tags: data storage, data center, servers, mainframe, energy consumption


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