IBM hangs on to Unix lead

IBM Corp., the world's largest computer maker, on Monday said its Unix servers received the highest ranking by a D.

IBM Corp., the world's largest computer maker, on Monday said its Unix servers received the highest ranking by a D.H. Brown Associates study of comparable computer products.

IBM's (NYSE: IBM) UNIX servers ranked ahead of second-place Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP) and third-place Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), for commercial Unix based servers, said Richard Partridge, senior research analyst for D.H. Brown.

Hewlett-Packard gained the most ground, rising to second from third among the commercial Unix servers.

"Last year IBM came from the back of the pack to a leadership position," Partridge said. "They needed to be recognized and given credit for reinvigorating their product. This year the news item is IBM has tenaciously held on to that position and Hewlett-Packard is coming on strong."

No chest thumping
The study is meant to help customers navigate past vendors' chest beating and provide a clear gauge of comparison of servers that can be used for a wide breadth of applications, Partridge said.

"It's to show who has demonstrated that they can do well across a broad enough range of different stress tests to be an overall good product for a lot of different uses," he said.

In the high-performance engineering/technical category, IBM came in second to SGI (NYSE: SGI).

Unix, a software operating system commonly used to run powerful business computers, competes with Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows operating systems.

The comparison study is meant to help information technology specialists, those who oversee corporate, scientific and education center computer systems.