Dell officials are boasting that Dell got to the market first with servers powered by Intel's Xeon 7500 chips, code-named Nehalem EX, while IBM says more than 200 customers, mostly from HP and Oracle, migrated workloads to IBM systems in the first quarter. HP just refreshed its high-end Integrity server line with Intel's Itanium 9300 processors, code-named Tukwila.
Awaiting the increase in corporate IT spending that is expected come as 2010
moves along, top-tier systems vendors are aggressively pushing their platforms
as alternatives to those of their competitors.
Dell and IBM on April 27
both boasted of the positions their high-end offerings hold in the rapidly
evolving market. Dell officials noted that the company has already begun
shipping PowerEdge servers powered by Intel's recently released four- to
eight-core Xeon 7500 "Nehalem EX" processors, ahead of rival
They also touted the services Dell offers to help customers
migrate their workloads from RISC-based platforms, such as those of HP, IBM
and Oracle, to their x86 systems.
Intel released its Xeon 7500 series in March, saying new
performance and RAS (reliability,
availability and serviceability) features make the high-end chip platform a
good alternative for businesses looking to move
their high-end workloads
off RISC systems.
Though about 95 percent of servers shipped worldwide are
x86-base systems, the other 5 percent generate about 40 percent of global
server revenue, making the market
an attractive one.
For its part, IBM announced
April 27 that in the first quarter of the year, more than 200
customers-primarily from HP and Oracle's Sun Microsystems business-moved their
business workloads onto IBM servers and
The announcements from both companies came out just after HP
unveiled a refreshed
high-end Integrity server lineup
that includes Intel's latest Itanium 9300
"Tukwila" processors as well as the results of HP's push to bring its
converged infrastructure initiative to the Integrity line.
A host of innovations from chip makers and OEMs are creating an
active environment in the server space, coupled with the expected rise in
corporate IT spending by businesses wanting to refresh their aging fleets of
systems and take advantage of new chip and server platforms.
In the first quarter, Intel not only released its eight-core
Nehalem EX for servers with four or more sockets, but also its six-core Xeon
5600 "Westmere EP" processors for more mainstream systems, and its
long-awaited Itanium 9300 chips. About 85 percent of Itanium revenues come from
Advanced Micro Devices launched its eight- to 12-core Opteron
6000 "Magny-Cours" processors, and in the second quarter will launch
its four- to six-core "Lisbon"
Meanwhile, IBM rolled out
the first of its Power7 servers.
Given this environment and the potential customer
base for x86 servers
opened up by Intel's Xeon 7500 and AMD's
Opteron 6000 platforms, being early to the market with new systems is important,
David Ard, manager of enterprise product marketing for Dell, said in an
"The timing is pretty important," Ard said. "The
scalability and expandability are compelling arguments for making the
transition to the Nehalem EX platform."
Dell is shipping the PowerEdge M910 blade server and R810 and
R910 rack systems running the Xeon 7500 chips.
Ard also said Dell's $3.9 billion acquisition of services
company Perot Systems has helped the OEM bulk up its services business,
including its offerings designed to help businesses move from RISC and Itanium
platforms to x86.
For their part, IBM
officials said since IBM's Migration Factory
program began four years ago, almost 2,700 businesses have migrated their
workloads onto IBM servers and storage. Most
have come from high-end HP and Oracle/Sun customers, with 95 and 117 customers,
respectively, moving in 2010 so far.
According to research company Gartner, HP shipped the most
in the world in the fourth quarter of 2009, followed by Dell and IBM.
However, IBM garnered the most server
revenue, with HP coming in second and Dell in third.