Admins report on the state of the server room

Windows servers are nearly universal, UNIX continues to have a place on more networks than Linux, and Itanium processors and blade servers still haven't made a major impact. Check out these and other findings from a recent server room survey.

The corporate server room continues to be a dynamic place, according to the results of a recent NetAdmin survey. We asked TechRepublic members about the network operating systems they were running and the hardware they were using. The results show that Windows is ubiquitous, but other operating systems are holding firm, while Linux continues to gain ground. It also appears as though a couple of newer hardware technologies aren't making much headway yet.

Pieces of the NOS pie
It won't come as a surprise to most IT professionals that Microsoft Windows servers have become a fixture on nearly every network. As you can see in Figure A, almost 97 percent of respondents reported that their networks include Windows servers.

Figure A

The next most widely used NOS is UNIX, with about 42 percent of IT pros reporting that their networks have UNIX servers (Figure B).

Figure B

UNIX's cousin, Linux, is not far behind, at 37.6 percent (Figure C).

Figure C

The remaining major NOS player, NetWare, has a place on 28.6 percent of networks (Figure D).

Figure D

UNIX and NetWare are technologies that have been around for a long time, and although they once played a much more prominent role in many networks, the results above show that they still have their place. Another technology that fits into that category is the mainframe. As Figure E shows, mainframes still own a spot on 19.5 percent of networks.

Figure E

A few years ago, hardware designers made a clever move that took advantage of the decreasing footprint of hardware—they started making mass market servers that could easily be turned sideways and mounted on racks. This improved both server management and space utilization. The trend has clearly been embraced by many IT departments. As Figure F shows, almost 70 percent of those IT professionals surveyed said that their networks included rack-based servers.

Figure F

Some vendors have extended the rack server concept to create blade servers, which can essentially fit as many as 24 servers into a 3U compartment on a rack—about the same amount of space consumed by a standard Intel-based rack server just five years ago. However, our survey showed that only a small percentage of IT departments have actually embraced blade servers at this point (Figure G).

Figure G

We also asked about another new server technology, Itanium servers. Although the move to these 64-bit servers has tremendous potential, especially for processor-intensive database functions, our survey showed that few networks include these cutting edge systems (Figure H).

Figure H

Final word
This survey showed—yet again—that IT departments tend to stick with what works and are slow movers when it comes to new technologies. Overall, UNIX and NetWare continue to hold some territory, while Windows servers now have a spot in virtually every server room. In addition, rack based servers are becoming a standard, while Itanium and blade servers have yet to make much impact despite their merits.


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