There's always been a war of words and counter claims between the major server vendors. But as of late, the numbers would suggest that the battle has been pretty much going IBM's way.
But Michael McNerney, director of server planning and marketing for Hewlett-Packard's Business Critical Systems Grooup, argues that numbers can be deceiving in the midst of a major transformation driven by virtualization that is changing how IT infrastructure is deployed and managed. In HP parlance, that change is known as Converged Infrastructure, which basically heralds an unprecedented level of integration across different types of server, storage and networking systems.
As this transformation takes place, McNerney argues that customers will soon place a lot more emphasis on how well all the components of the enterprise work together. So rather than focusing on specific server platforms, customers are going to opt for vendors that lower their total cost of management by using components that are tightly integrated under a common set of management tools.
In contrast, McNerney says that vendors such as IBM are still platform-centric at the expense of their customers' interests. HP isn't the only vendor singing this song. Variations of this theme can be heard at Dell, Oracle, Cisco and even IBM itself.
Whether that shift will allow HP or others to ultimately usurp IBM remains to be seen. But the one thing that is for certain is that convergence this way comes.