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Revolving Door

In contrast to Apple’s stunning success, the first calendar quarter of 2011 was a revolving door for other Silicon Valley companies and executives. There were management shifts, shakeups and ousters at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Google, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Microsoft. They were variously aimed at jumpstarting product momentum (AMD, Microsoft), polishing a tarnished image and placating stockholders (HP) and providing an orderly transition of power (Google).

You need a scorecard to keep up with all the comings and goings.

AMD’s board ousted chief executive Dirk Meyer in mid-January after only 18 months on the job. It then appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, as interim CEO while the search goes on for a permanent chief executive. Siefert continues as chief financial officer and says he does not want to be considered for the permanent CEO position. This is probably a smart move. AMD’s flamboyant co-founder Jerry Sanders spent 33 years as CEO (1969 to 2002), but everyone who’s followed has had a short tenure.

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IBM AIX v7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Highest Security Marks

Nine out of 10 — 90% — of the 470 respondents to ITIC’s 2010-2011 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey rated the security of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 and IBM’s AIX v7 as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” This was the highest security ratings out of 18 different Server Operating System distributions (See Exhibit below). Three-quarters or 75% of survey participants gave HP UX 11i v3 “Excellent” or “Very Good” security ratings; this was the third highest ranking of the 18 major server OS distributions polled. This was followed by Ubuntu Server 10 and Debian GNU/Linux 5, which tied for fourth. Seven out of 10 survey participants — 71% — of those polled ranked the two most popular open source distributions’ security as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” Red Hat Enterprise Linux v 5.5 and Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11, the two most widely deployed Linux distributions trailed Debian and Ubuntu but were nearly tied with each other in security rankings. Just over two-thirds — 67% — of Red Hat users rated its security as “Excellent or Very Good” while 66% of survey participants judging Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11 security to be “Excellent” or “Very Good.”

Some 58% of Apple Mac OS X 10.6 survey respondents rated its security as “Excellent” or “Very Good,” putting it at the bottom of the pack, beating only Oracle’s Solaris 10 which was rated “Excellent” or “Very Good” by 63% of respondents, which in the past two years has been notching modest gains among corporate users.

Also noteworthy was the fact that only a very small percentage of respondents gave thumbs down “Poor” or “Unsatisfactory” security grades to their server operating system vendors. In this category, Apple had the highest percentage of respondents – 7% — who gave its Mac OS X 10.6 both “Poor” and “Unsatisfactory” marks. This might appear puzzling to some since Apple’s users have long touted the security of the platform. Apple users have long boasted about the fact that there are far fewer viruses and malicious code written targeting Macs compared to Windows. However, now that Apple is once again re-emerging as a significant presence in corporate networks, the Mac OS X 10.6 will no longer enjoy the “security by obscurity” that it claimed as a standalone consumer OS. Macs, iPhones, iPads and tablets are becoming mainstream staples as business tools. Hence, the number of exploits, including such malware as worms, Trojans and bots that target the Mac is increasing commensurately. Apple will have to respond accordingly with tighter security.

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For the third year in a row, IBM AIX Unix operating system (OS) running on the company’s Power System servers scored the highest reliability ratings among 19 different server OS platforms – including other Unix variants, Microsoft’s Windows Server, Linux distributions and Apple’s Mac OS X.

Over three-quarters or 78 percent of survey respondents indicated they experienced less than one of the most common, minor Tier 1 incidents per server, per annum on IBM’s AIX v. 5.3 and AIX v 7.1 distributions
Those are the results of the ITIC 2010-2011 Global Server Hardware and OS Reliability Survey. ITIC partnered with GFI Software (formerly Sunbelt Software) to conduct this independent Web-based survey. It polled C-level executives and IT managers at 468 corporations from 23 countries worldwide from November through January.

The survey data indicated that the reliability and uptime of all the major server OS and server hardware distributions has improved significantly over the past several years.

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