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Archive for February 2013

Big Blue Hardware is Rock Solid

IBM hardware retains its status as being best in class in terms of reliability, stability and performance and customer satisfaction. IBM’s System z mainframes recorded the least amount of downtime of any hardware platform. In the server hardware category systems with relatively small market shares, including Stratus Technologies ftServer 6300 and 4500 series and Fujitsu’s Primequest and Primergy Servers continue to score very high reliability.

Stratus Technologies of Maynard, MA offers Intel Xeon-based systems with mainframe-like fault tolerance and reliability with 99.999 % reliability. The Fujitsu Primergy and Fujitsu SPARC systems similarly deliver a high level of reliability and fault tolerance with 48% of reporting 99.999% or just over five minutes of per server/ per annum downtime due to unplanned outages.

The length and severity of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 unplanned outages and the patching actions related to each correspond to specific line item capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) costs for the business. Reliability, measured by downtime, can positively or negatively impact TCO and accelerate or delay ROI.

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To reiterate, ITIC’s fifth annual reliability survey results indicate that the inherent reliability and uptime of nearly all of the 14 major server hardware and 18 server operating system distributions continues to improve. But at the same time, user error is becoming more of a factor undercutting overall reliability.

This is based on technical advances in the underlying processor technology from companies like Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices, memory and disk technology, as well as improvements to the core server hardware and server OSs that improve performance, scalability, security and the ability to support heavier workloads.

As organizations strive to accomplish more with fewer resources, IT departments must rely even more heavily on their vendors to deliver more reliable servers and server OS platforms and top notch technical support in the form of regular patches and documentation.

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For the fifth year in a row, IBM servers delivered the highest levels of reliability and uptime among 14 server platforms.

Those are the results of the latest independent ITIC 2013 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at over 550 organizations worldwide from August 2012 through January 2013.

Among the high-end mainframe class systems, both the IBM System z and the Stratus Technologies’ ftServer 6310 delivered the highest inherent reliability: both had no instances – 0% – of the most severe Tier 3 outages lasting four hours or more of duration. Among the mainstream “work horse” servers, IBM’s Power Systems recorded the least amount of unplanned downtime, approximately 13 minutes per server/per year. By contrast, some 6 percent of organizations using Oracle (formerly Sun Microsystems) x86-based servers experienced of over four (4) hours of per server/per annum downtime. This was the highest percentage of lengthy Tier 3 server outages among the 14 platforms surveyed.

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IBM’s latest generation of Power Systems introduced this week are all about “power,” emphasizing:

  • The power to support compute intensive workloads
  • The power to deliver business analytics
  • The power to drive business efficiencies through server consolidation
  • The power to conserve resources by consolidating floor space and lowering energy consumption
  • The power to cut costs by reducing the number of licensing core requirements
  • The power to leverage new product features and capabilities that simplify the IT experience

IBM’s new Power enterprise and entry servers also align with the company’s strategy to address organizations’ need to support compute-intensive workloads and more complex application environments, which include physical, virtual, cloud and mobile environments.

The new solutions – which support IBM’s AIX, and IBM i operating systems, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise operating system environments – use the same underlying advanced processor technology that powers its Watson supercomputer, the system so famously displayed in 2011 when it trumped Jeopardy! grand champions during a nationally televised match.

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