Better-value driving servers

Better value for money the dominant factor influencing selection of a primary server vendor.

An IDC survey reports better value for money as the dominant factor influencing buyers across almost all vertical markets in their selection of a primary server vendor.


The findings are based on data collected in IDC's 2005 US enterprise server vertical market survey. The deciding factor held even greater weight with respondents from the US ’ manufacturing, services and healthcare sectors.


Another key determinant of almost equal importance in the report was 'better systems performance.' Systems performance appeared to be a particularly critical consideration for respondents responsible for primary server vendor decisions made within the financial services and distribution industries.


However, Kelly Quinn, senior research analyst with IDC's Enterprise Computing group, statesthat "historical experience with a vendor should not be underestimated," further noting that, "in the public sector vertical, for example, 'previous experience with vendor' was cited most often as the leading reason for selecting a specific server vendor."


Dan Corsetti, senior analyst with IDC's Vertical Market Research team, explains that "this result is likely reflective of the lengthy public sector contracts that make it exceedingly difficult to displace incumbent vendors in the education and government industries".


The survey report also discusses respondents' perceptions of the top four server vendors within the US market, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun. "While users cited opportunities for improvement with each vendor, the level of satisfaction with all server vendors rated in this survey was very high within the market overall," says Quinn.


Using a different frame of reference, however, that of vertical markets versus the overall market, the report finds that the portrait of satisfaction for each vendor is quite different. "While both IBM and Dell received high customer satisfaction ratings from respondents overall," reveals Corsetti, "it is interesting to note that HP and Sun scored particularly high in several specific vertical markets".


Namely, respondents from manufacturing and resources, distribution services, and healthcare services held HP in high esteem, while those in financial services, infrastructure services, and the public sector all indicated higher than average approval of Sun as their primary server vendor.


Other key study findings include: those that have Dell or HP as their primary server vendor noted 'better value for the money' as a leading factor in their decision; the top three differentiating factors noted by those who chose Sun as their primary server vendor were system availability, followed by better system performance and better system functionality; the two verticals in which IBM received the highest satisfaction ratings from those surveyed were the healthcare services and infrastructure services markets.

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