Dell servers most favored, IBM servers not

Dell servers most favored, IBM servers not

Summary: Plowing through more of our IT Priorities datahas turned up some interesting emerging trends in server plans 12 months out. Though the data set is still small (only 100 responses from our IT executives and managers), it appears as though there is a strong preference for Dell servers in our sample and an equally strong 'dislike' for IBM servers.

TOPICS: Servers

Plowing through more of our IT Priorities datahas turned up some interesting emerging trends in server plans 12 months out. Though the data set is still small (only 100 responses from our IT executives and managers), it appears as though there is a strong preference for Dell servers in our sample and an equally strong 'dislike' for IBM servers.

Twice as many planners prefer Dell servers as avoid them. Thisstrong preference for Dell could be a reflection of the recent Gartner datathat show Dell had the fastest year-over-year growth in market share (units shipped). On the negative side,twice as many planners are avoiding IBM servers compared to those who prefer them.

The chart below shows how all the leading vendors named by our IT decision makers stack up when it comes to solution planning for next year's IT server initiatives. As you can see, HP and Sun occupy a more balanced position, witha modest edge in the favored column. Notice, too, thatGateway appears to have more planners avoiding their server solutions than preferring them at this time. So stay tuned. We'll keep collecting data and reporting the results right here.


Topic: Servers

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  • So which is it?

    IBM or Dell.. This sight cant make up its mind according to the other article about IBM servers making consistent gains......
    • a yea ibm servers are overpriced crap

      ibm products are usually double in price and support/service are so low that it can not even see the light of day
    • The data speak

      Thanks for the comment. I can see the point of confusion. The reason I referred to the previous Datapoint blog that related Gartner's data on the server market was to suggest that perhaps some of the share growth Dell experienced year-over-year was also evident in the trend we're detecting in our IT Priorities data, namely, that many IT planners clearly prefer Dell servers. This is not to say we fully understand the whys and wherefores of how the server market stacks up quarter to quarter. Actually, we look at the market from the other side of the fence by talking to those who are actually buying technology, or not buying it, as the case may be.
  • P*ssing in the wind

    Once again, these statistics are interesting, but near useless without an examination of WHY they are that way. Why do people prefer Dell? Why are people avoiding IBM? That's where the value lies for this stuff, not in the parroting of stats from Gartner.

    C'mon, ZDNet - provide some added value here!
    • Some IT folks have a good memory???

      The thing is, with Dell you know up front you are getting a "generic" box with no strings attached. Those IT people with a history with IBM know that is never the case with them.
    • You tell us

      Are you an IT manager? Do you agree with your peers regarding IBM serers, or do you disagree? The simple fact that there's a months-long trend in IT planning is interesting and (in my opinion) newsworthy. I'll be the first to admit that ZDNet does not have all the answers or the explanations. In this blog particularly, our aim is to highlight valid trends in IT. But the answers you want -- why do IT managers view IBM servers as less desireable -- must come from IT managers themselves.

      Stephen Howard-Sarin
      Stephen Howard-Sarin
      • My 2 cents

        IT Manager - no, but I hold sway in purchasing and spec hardware. I am in the process of pushing an investigation to replace an IBM zSeries mainframe with comparable mini/micro hardware (IBM, HP, and Dell have been invited to provide proposals). The topic was of great interest to me, but without the details it ranks right there with the glossies the vendors used to hand out.

        Our switch to Dell occurred years ago, so IBM is paying the price for its sins from bygone years. Other posters here referenced IBM's early dabling in proprietary HW (MCA, anyone?) which left a real bad taste in our mouths. Compaq became the vendor of choice until they botched delivery of a high-end Intel box slated for firewall duty. That opened the door for Dell, and with the exception of some misteps (an over-priced, over-promised SAN solution that was a 1/4 mil $$ disaster) Dell has kept us happy.

        Dell - typically the best pricing, easy to configure and purchase using their online tools and govt selling channels, decent hardware support, pretty good reliability record.

        IBM - pricing tends to be higher than Dell, much more difficult to spec hardware - they tend to tout features that no one else has (early HW failure warning was big a few years ago), their online tools aren't great, their sales staff isn't as easy to get hold of, internal organization is confounding - too many competing branches that seem to be more focused on keeping customers in their niche rather than helping them find the right IBM-branded solution (mainframe guys don't want to lose a customer to the IBM Intel platform guys: It shouldn't matter - IBM still gets the money, just help me get the best bang for my buck!).

        HP/Compaq - Fiorina exit leaves them looking shaky, AMD Opteron option makes them look more attractive than Dell's blind allegiance to Intel, pricing is... I don't know, it's been years since we seriously spec'd out an HP box to compare to Dell.

        So HP and IBM may have mended their ways, but it's tough to try them out on a purchase without killing your standardization model and perhaps taking a hit in the reliability/support zones, too. That then begs the question - are these stats based on other customers like me who really don't have any present day knowledge of these hardware vendors' offerings, and are just tagging them for past offenses? Blade servers are supposedly a hot spot, yet Dell has lagged in that area to other vendors. How do you balance that against the fact that Dell is preferred? All of that information is KEY!

        Everybody has an opinion, but only some are actually worth anything. So are these opinions that are presented here within the stats WORTH anything? Or do they just keep feeding prejudices from years gone past?

        As a customer, I can ask each vendor to present their case, but it's understood that they are going to be biased. What I seek from ZDNet and other tech info outlets is a less biased viewpoint to help separate the wheat from the chaff. Does some vendor offer a HW configuration that provides better value than the other? Do real world experiences of current customers validate the opinions of support and reliability? Just because the masses follow something doesn't necessarily mean it's the best (I'm sure you can think of some examples!) That's the stuff that's worth its weight in gold to us folks in the trenches.

        We appreciate the data presented here, but it would be so much more valuable if it was filled out - at that point it becomes information.
  • Idiot managers insist on Dell.

    Everything they make is low end GARBAGE. From PDA's to MP3 Players to Desktops to Servers. They are the biggest piles of staming dung to ever leave a factory.

    Since I do purchasing of our servers, we use nothing but IBM. Service is top notch - parts are here within a day, you don't argue with the tech about sending them, and the TECH SPEAKS ENGLISH, not Engrish. :)

    They are reliable as anything. We inherited some Dell Dung-boxes and they are always breaking and generally unreliable. They are on the way out.

    Can't imagine why anyone with 1/4 a brain would ever spec a Dell. Unless they are trying to keep staffing levels high.
    • You sound a little bitter

      I have been a systems administrator for a small to medium size manufacturer for about 8 years. My experience with IBM servers is next to none. I was hired into my current position when the company I am with decided to install a LAN in their corporate headquarters. At that time we used a Compaq VAR And installed 2 Compaq servers and about 40 Compaq desktops. In the four years we had the Compaqs I had 4 hard drives fail in the arrays on the servers and almost 25% of the desktops had hard drives fail.

      Three years ago we obtained out first two Dell servers and 25 desktops. The servers are STILL running without ever having any kind of failure. We are now running 4 Dell servers and have not had a problem with any of them. A few of the desktops have had their keyboards replaced because the keys became hard to press. We also own a dozen Dell laptops that range in age from brand new to 5 years old. All are still carrying their load without a hiccup.

      Dell has moved their enterprise support back to the US from off-shore so the language barrier has all but disappeared. The ability to talk to a tech support person that understands I know about computers is a godsend. When I spoke with Compaq staff I was treated as if I was a home user opening the box for the first time.

      I swear by Dell and at this point I would be a hard sell for any other brand of computer.
  • Need more data

    Dell preferred over IBM? Or is it really just "Dell $500 cheaper than IBM?" More information as to "why" there is a preference,s needed. -- And if I was in Marketing at any of these companies, I would be worrying about the "avoid" number.

    The numbers on the small chart are too sketchy to mean much. The total given, minus Linux, is only 57%. What is the rest? Spread among 50 smaller companies? White Boxes?

    How about some definitions: "server" in my world means anything from "multi-processor, multi-power supply, multi-disk RAID" to "PC that is too old an slow for the desktop, so we will use it for the FTP server." Is Dell ahead in $4,000 servers but IBM in $40,000 servers?

    And what is "Linux Servers (not specified)" supposed to mean? Aren't a large percentage of Dell, HP etc. servers shipped with Linux pre-installed? Did the IT managers say "I am buying a Linux server, of some brand or another?" What does this have to to with what brand of hardware people prefer.

    Sorry about the rant, but articles like this get to me. There is so much conclusion drawn from so little data shown that this would be laughed out of any freshman statistics class. There are no reasons given, so the statistics are just numbers without context.
    • More data on the way

      We have just begun collecting and reporting the data on vendor deliberations for IT purchases, and we've tried to issue all the appropriate caveats about not betting the farm on the findings when we publish our blogs. However, we also take great pride in our research programs, and because we, too, want to know why one vendor is preferred over another, we are modifying our IT Priorities survey to collect this information. We'll be including the 'whys' and 'why nots' in upcoming blogs. Thanks for the comments, all.
  • Dell-t a Bad Server?

    Last year we strayed from the bullet-proof HP server line and purchased a Dell PowerEdge 1600SC. The machine didn't spontaneously combust, as reported by others, but within its first month of operation a hard drive failed. Then the CD drive failed. Two months later another CD drive failed. Needless to say, the Dell server lacked the one crucial element a server needs - reliability.
    • Peripheral reliability is a cross-OEM problem.