Server Farming

Dec 10 2010   2:31PM GMT

Gartner: Converged infrastructure push will intensify, hide your wallet

Matt Stansberry Matt Stansberry Profile: Matt Stansberry

This week at the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas, analysts warned IT managers to avoid inadvertently backing into any vendor’s integrated stack.

For converged infrastructure platforms, “it’s too early, there are too many unknowns, and it will not serve you well over the long haul,” said Gartner VP David Capuccio in the Monday morning keynote.

Gartner’s Jeff Hewitt dubbed the converged infrastructure players The Big Five: Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and Oracle. These vendors already have a piece of your data center budget, and are looking for more, acquiring companies or partnering to create an integrated stack.

Some IT managers are calling these converged systems the new mainframes: servers, storage, networking, operating systems, hypervisor, management tools and middleware all pre-integrated, and each layer of the stack is optimized with the vendor’s secret sauce.

Examples include the Cisco UCS, Oracle’s Exadata and Exalogic machines, HP’s Bladesystem Matrix and VCE’s vBlock.

These machines can put up impressive performance numbers, and make vendor management simpler, but analysts and IT managers are wary of vendor lock-in.

“When you reduce your number of suppliers, you inherently increase risk and make it harder to switch providers, and you reduce your negotiation strength,” Hewitt said.

Gartner asked attendees: Which of the Big Five are you likely to buy from in 2011 that you’re not buying from today?

Cisco dominated with 33%, followed by HP 18%, IBM 17%, Dell 9%, and Oracle with 8%. Also, 15% said they didn’t plan to buy anything new from the big five.

“Cisco offering its network customers UCS is as easy of McDonalds offering fries with hamburger,” Hewitt said.

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