Servers: Win Some Lose Some

The x86 servers market demonstrates growth while the non-x86 UNIX market continues to shrink. It is a two-horse race with IBM and HP locking horns

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The Indian server market has been going through tough times over the last few years. As we look at the numbers of FY12, the growth of x86 servers remained flat while the UNIX (non-x86) market saw significant de-growth. Much can be attributed to the lull in server buying in H2 FY12 and hence large mission critical buying slowed and also traditional buyers of UNIX exploring x86 architectures.
This has put the brakes on the UNIX market and hence leading to the decline. With UNIX market getting highly niche in the last couple of years, the vendors, in this backdrop, focused their attention on x86 servers and tried to offer the best of functionality and configurations.

The x86 Story

Clearly the year that went by belongs to the x86 servers and most of the action revolved around this. The x86 servers challenged the traditional UNIX deployments with new buying decisions favorably tilting towards them. This is more so due to the vendors launching products that are more agile, feature rich, and took care of the diverse computing needs of the enterprises.

As we look vendor wise, HP unveiled a roadmap dubbed ‘Project Odyssey', aimed at mission critical business computing requirements. The initiative behind ‘Project Odyssey' was to unify UNIX and x86 server architectures onto a single platform. This allows organizations to leverage on the availability and resilience of UNIX based platforms along with the familiarity and cost-efficiency of industry standard platforms.

Further plans under ‘Project Odyssey' include enhancing the HP-UX operating environment on HP Integrity servers, delivering blades with Intel Xeon processors for HP Superdome 2 enclosure (code named ‘DragonHawk'), and the scalable c-Class blade enclosures (code named "HydraLynx), while fortifying Windows and Linux environments with innovations from HP-UX within the next 2 years. Once ‘DragonHawk' is available, clients will be able to run mission-critical workloads on HP-UX on Intel Itanium based blades while simultaneously running workloads on Microsoft Windows or Red Hat Linux on Intel Xeon based blades in the same Superdome 2 enclosure.

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IBM also focused on innovation and created feature rich products. As part of its Systems and Technology Group (STG), IBM invests significant amount of money on R&D on storage and servers and that clearly manifested in really robust products. So what made IBM tick in the end was its aggression in areas like innovation, pre-sales, post-sales, and its capabilities to seamlessly offer end-to-end solutions. All this had been amply reflected in the Dataquest Customer Satisfaction Audit 2012, in which IBM topped in servers and storage.

 

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