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The State of Server Technology: 2010 to 2012


August 06, 2012 03:41 PM As more companies turn to virtualization and private clouds, they're also taking a look at the server technology in their data centers. This is leading to a boost for the server market. Find out why in this look at the state of server technology, from 2010 to 2012.
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"Doing more with less" isn't just a cliché at this point for IT administrators--for some, it's the only way they've ever known to work. That's led to a rise in consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing, all of which make it easier for admins and end users to do their jobs. Ironically, that's led to a surge for the server market, as admins anticipate getting more money to buy more servers, according to InformationWeek Reports' most recent entry in its "State of Server Technology" series.

The August 2011 survey found that of 676 respondents, 23% planned to add servers and capability in 2011 and 2012, and 8% intended to increase their overall number of servers. In a turnaround from 2010, when 42% of respondents planned to decrease and consolidate their overall server count, only 33% reported they'd do so for 2011-2012. A respondent to the "2010 State of Server Technology" actually cited virtualization as a factor in hardware reduction.

"The move to virtual servers for high availability and redundancy has become our goal," said one survey respondent. "Not only does this reduce the hardware footprint, but it also reduces power and cooling needs. We are also looking at solid-state drives. This will improve efficiency, reduce power consumption and increase storage availability."

So why are fewer respondents planning to decrease their server count? It goes back to consolidation, according to Kurt Marko, author of the 2011 report.

"Consolidation--collapsing more work onto fewer servers--is the primary use case driving technology development in the server market, and it has implications on everything from the processor architecture (more cores are in) and memory subsystem (consumption is exploding) to network and storage I/O (feeding data to all those VMs is difficult on legacy networks)."

Yet, despite the plans to add servers and capability, server budget plans for 2011 and 2012 stayed roughly the same as the numbers found in 2010. In both 2010 and 2011, 11% of respondents anticipated significant increases in their budgets; 26% said the budgets would increase slightly in 2011, while 39% expected things to remain the same.

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