Handicapping the Server Horserace for Windows Server 2012

Michael Vizard

Much like nervous thoroughbred before the start of a race, server vendors are getting anxious following the announcement of the general availability today of Microsoft Windows Server 2012. After all, most IT organizations, when upgrading to a new operating system of that scale and magnitude, are going to opt to deploy it on a new server.

But it may take a while for that bounce in sales to take effect. In the meantime, server vendors are struggling with multiple issues that are adversely affecting sales — not the least of which is the overall state of the economy.

Server vendors have become victims of virtualization. Not only are IT organizations getting more utilization out of their existing servers, but the new ones they do buy can handle more virtual machines than ever. In fact, according to Brian Payne, executive director of Dell PowerEdge servers, it’s the ability of Dell PowerEdge servers to support more blade server and virtual machine density than rivals, which accounts for the fact that the company is actually gaining server share in a tough market.

Payne says Dell expects to continue that momentum as appreciation for the capabilities of its 12th generation PowerEdge servers grows, especially as customers move to adopt a Windows Server 2012 offering that can now come bundled with Dell servers.

Of course, there are a lot of factors at work in the server market that go way beyond products and technologies. It’s no secret that one of Dell’s arch rivals has been distracted by years of infighting. How Hewlett-Packard responds to those issues under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman will have a lot to do with how much future success Dell enjoys in the server space.

In the meantime, while server vendors continue to try to get customers to appreciate higher-value functions pertaining to IT automation, the server market like most of enterprise IT remains a buyers’ market.



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