Survey reveals clues on why Dell is staying direct

The results are in from IT World Canada’s server study, and it looks like there’s no clear winner. It’s essentially a three-horse race between HP, IBM, and Dell, with Sun a few furlongs behind. Direct purchasing is preferred, and price and performance are the dominant criteria. Intel is holding on to mindshare, virtualization is still hot, and dual-core owns the market, although quad-core is showing some muscle. Meanwhile, Linux is in the game, but not as far along as some might expect…and what ever happened to software as a service?In January and February IT World Canada, publishers of CDN, conducted a survey to determine the status of various server equipment vendors and technologies in the Canadian market. In total, 403 companies participated, with response-sets for data collection ranging between 287 and 309 individuals. All responses were specific to those individuals who either had purchase decision-making authority for server equipment, or were key influencers. No company had fewer than 200 employees, and half were in the 200- to 500-employee range.

For server vendors of all types, the good news is that over 88 per cent of the respondents said that they intended to buy new servers in the next 18 months. There was a significant amount of doubling up, with over half of respondents intending to buy application servers, database servers and file/print servers.

Direct purchasing has become the norm; in fact, this is now the preferred purchasing method of 57 per cent of the companies surveyed, compared with the 40 per cent who purchase indirectly.

The study made it clear that we are now in a three-vendor market, with HP, IBM and Dell being the overwhelming favourites.

However, the news is a little better for some vendors than for others. In fact, HP had the highest ranking, with 57 per cent of respondents claiming to have bought their servers, with IBM following at 53 per cent, and Dell keeping pace at 50 per cent.

Beyond these three leaders, no other vendor was on the radar, with the exception of Sun, which had a 21 per cent response rate. These findings were mirrored when people were asked from whom they intended to buy: the top three were essentially neck-and-neck, with Sun the only other vendor to register.

And why are people buying servers? Price and performance are the key purchase values, far outstripping other considerations. Of interest was the low consideration given to support services, with a 13 per cent response rate, and the fact that power consumption barely registered as a concern with the respondents – fewer than two per cent of respondents considered this to be factor in purchasing servers.

As well, rack-mounted servers have become more popular than the tower “box”, or standalone servers, which are in definite decline.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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