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Eight out of 10 — 82% — of the over 600 respondents to ITIC’s 2014-2015 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey say security issues negatively impact overall server, operating system and network reliability. Of that figure a 53% majority of those polled say that security vulnerabilities and hacks have a “moderate,” “significant” or “crucial impact on network availability and uptime (See Exhibit 1).

Overall, the latest ITIC survey results showed that organizations are still more reactive than proactive regarding security threats. Some 15% of the over 600 global corporate respondents are extremely lax: some seven percent said that security issues have no impact on their environment while another eight percent indicated that they don’t keep track of whether or not security issues negatively affect the uptime and availability of their networks. In contrast, 24% of survey participants or one-in-four said security has a “significant” or “crucial” negative impact on network reliability and performance.

Still, despite the well documented and high profile hacks into companies like Target, eBay, Google and other big name vendors this year, the survey found that seven-out-of-10 firms – 70% – are generally confident in the security of their hardware, software and applications – until they get hacked.

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For the sixth year in a row, corporate enterprise users said IBM server hardware delivered the highest levels of reliability/uptime among 14 server hardware and 11 different server hardware virtualization platforms. A 58% majority of IBM servers achieved “five nines” or 99.999% availability – the equivalent of 5.25 minutes of unplanned per server downtime compared to 46% of Hewlett-Packard servers and 40% of Oracle server hardware.

Those are the results of the latest independent ITIC 2014 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at over 600 organizations worldwide during March and April 2014.

The survey results showed that the overall reliability HP’s servers increased significantly in 2014 compared to the 2012 and 2013 polls and surpassing the uptime of rival Oracle servers which remained the same or declined slightly compared to prior polls. Cisco Systems, Inc.’s Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, which appeared for the first time in this year’s ITIC Reliability poll, made a very strong showing, posting uptime equal to or better than HP (depending on the category) and bested only by IBM server reliability. Half – 50% – of Cisco UCS server hardware users said they achieved 99.999% of per server/per annum availability.

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The forecast for 2014 and beyond is cloud, cloud and more cloud – cloud computing, that is. For a majority of organizations – irrespective of size or vertical market – it’s a matter of “when” not “if” they will initiate a cloud computing deployment.

And ITIC survey data indicates that hybrid clouds will predominate and be the cloud architecture of choice for 64% of businesses. Hybrid cloud solutions offer organizations the best elements of public and private clouds when properly architected, tested, deployed and maintained. The benefits include reduced costs based on a utility-like pay-per-use model, greater scalability, flexibility and greater efficiencies in terms of manageability and business processes.

That said, in order to ensure optimal hybrid cloud performance and maximize Return on Investment (ROI), companies must start with a strong foundation. This includes a robust, reliable, flexible, scalable, manageable and secure infrastructure that provides integration and interoperability among legacy network components and the firm’s public and private clouds. Any hybrid cloud deployment lacking in these aforementioned elements is almost certainly doomed to failure.

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