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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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One of the most daunting and off-putting challenges for any enterprise IT department is how to efficiently plan and effectively manage cloud deployments or upgrades while still maintaining the reliability and availability of the existing infrastructure during the rollout.

IBM solves this issue with its newly released Platform Resource Scheduler which is part of the company’s Platform Computing portfolio and an offering within the IBM Software Defined Environment (SDE) vision for next generation cloud automation. The Platform Resource Scheduler is a prescriptive set of services designed to ensure that enterprise IT departments get a trouble-free transition to a private, public or private cloud environment by automating the most common placement and policy procedures of their virtual machines (VMs). It also helps guarantee quality of service while greatly reducing the most typical human errors that occur when IT administrators manually perform tasks like load balancing and memory balancing. The Platform Resource Scheduler is sold with IBM’s SmartCloud Orchestrator and PowerVC and is available as an add-on with IBM SmartCloud Open Stack Entry products. It also features full compatibility with Nova APIs and fits into all IBM OpenStack environments. It is built on open APIs, tools and technologies to maximize client value, skills availability and easy reuse across hybrid cloud environments. It supports heterogeneous (both IBM and non-IBM) infrastructures and runs on Linux, UNIX and Windows as well as IBM’s zOS operating systems.

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