IT managers must lobby vendors to get more value out of their infrastructure platforms in order to avoid large costs associated with provisioning and upgrades, according to speakers at IDC’s ServerVision conference.
And the two tiers of server hardware – business-critical and general infrastructure - should be approached differently, Avneesh Saxena, vice president computing systems research Asia-Pacific region at IDC, said.
“Business-critical servers are heavily dependent on performance, software availability and vendor service,” Saxena said. “IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun are competitive in this space and users tend to go with their tried and trusted vendor.”
Users tend to focus more on cost for general infrastructure servers for applications such as e-mail and Web, Saxena said.
“Here, x86 servers are thriving and there is growing acceptance of 4- and 8-way systems,” he said. “We are seeing a high demand for Linux, particularly in clustered configurations.”
When selecting a vendor users should keep their ROI in focus. The keys to that, he said, are "Consolidation, integration, and outsourcing.
“The reality is that outsourcing will happen but it will be made much easier if consolidation and integration takes place beforehand.”
Peter Hall, marketing director for HP’s Asia-Pacific region server operations, also pushed the consolidation approach.
“IT managers should make decisions on agility as the past has been based on silo technologies,” Hall said. “Over-provisioning of computing resources wastes money. A shared computing model is the path to the adaptive enterprise.”
Hall said customers should “demand” that any infrastructure purchased is agile.
“A truly adaptive infrastructure allows operating system change with the need to purchase new infrastructure,” Hall said. “This approach removes the risk in purchasing.”
If the enterprise is to achieve a more simplified infrastructure, all the systems need to move to Itanium, Hall said.
“Itanium is an important industry standard and offers the best cost competitiveness,” he said. “With HP Itanium systems users can choose to run HP-UX, Windows, or Linux on the same platforn. We will also release OpenVMS for Itanium in 2004.”
Also speaking at the conference was Mark Tellez, manager, server and workstation product marketing group, AMD.
Tellez said total cost of ownership and integration are now second only to reliability when it comes to purchasing criteria.
“Technology upgrades and transition costs result in migration penalties, which have a huge economic impact on users,” he said. “Start measuring disruption costs and ask for references from vendors when making technology updates.”
Tellez cited AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processor technology as a less disruptive approach to server migration from 32-bit applications. From the vendors’ perspective, Tellez recommended a three-stage approach to delivering more value.
“Start with customers needs, drive innovation with standards, and collaborate with partners,” he said.