Servers

Intel, AMD have robust new server power; does IT still care?

Intel and AMD say their fancy new servers can help IT consolidate and save big money. But, do IT leaders still care about servers? We're not so sure.

Podcast

Intel and AMD say their fancy new servers can help IT consolidate and save big money. But, do IT leaders still care about servers? We're not so sure.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan. This week's guest is Bill Detwiler, TechRepublic's head technology editor.

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

31 comments
cohlinger
cohlinger

The hosts of this blog suggests that with virtualization "all of your eggs are in one basket". Any design worth having is going to have High Availability virtualized clusters. This is a very misleading report overall. Any company which is not leveraging virtualization is making very poor business decisions and therefore will not remain competitive.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

We talked positively about virtualization in this podcast (and others). It's the biggest trend in data centers right now. Virtualization has to be managed well, but in no way did we imply that that virtualization was a bad idea.

zclayton2
zclayton2

How much longer is the transcript of these going to be vaporware? You've been promising them RSN for awhile.

ken
ken

It was stated that the cloud will likely replace most inhouse servers within the next 5 - 10 years. Will this cause small IT companies to become obsolete? Further, if most of the support ends up being done in these data centers, won't this drastically reduce the need for IT engineers, thus shrinking the IT professional industry?

hlhowell
hlhowell

Most of us "seasoned" workers remember hosted applications. Gross failure, connection problems, data center overload, restricted access via accounting processes, licensing issues, etc. etc. And I for one have no desire to go back to a 1960's computing model just because someone who doesn't know the reality of that system of work doesn't realize its total cost, inhibition, loss of personal data, lack of personalization, lack of privacy, lack of primacy and poor operating model. Cloud computing an idea old before it's time. Back to the IBM model, mankind will only ever need one computer. Well, how much are you willing to give up? Your job, your data, your privacy (whatever is left of that) and maybe your ability to do something differently than the "herd"? We need faster more capable computers, fewer bottle necks, and greater data freedom, not less of any of these. More powerful servers are just a step in that direction. What we need is bandwidth, a modern data highway linking all mankind, with greater local processing power to the people. Let the market determine what is right.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Those data centers and cloud server companies are going to have to employ someone. Many of those someones will be people formerly employed by those businesses' new clients. That said, I question the timeline in this prediction.

Walthy
Walthy

When the PC revolution started, then the network revolution, it was hard to find people who could deal with hardware and software. I did very well with both. That changed over time as jobs became more specialized and the generalist was less in demand. That is continuing as mentioned here and it is impossible for one person to know it all anymore. It will become more and more difficult to find that one person who can fix your problem as we become more specialized. Get used to being moved from person to person even more in the future to get your problems fixed.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Data center IT pros will be employed by service providers. The jobs will become more specialized and highly skilled. The people who still work in IT at the companies themselves will be more business analysts and project managers. We're already seeing this.

YankDownUnder
YankDownUnder

What does it matter if you buy a hot monster server, stick some form of Microsoft on it, and it runs like molasses?

MWatch
MWatch

The bleating begins about M$ and how some distro will do the same job running on a $12.00 toaster.

eclypse
eclypse

Actually, I got my Linux distro to run on a $9.00 toaster with the same performance as Server 08 R2 on Nehalem-Ex. Upgrades are for Windoze n00bz!!!11!!11! =)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I got the Ubuntu 'Randy Rhino' beta to run on a $7.00 cordless screwdriver, and the video and wireless drivers worked right out of the box!

wanharris
wanharris

Interesting said, As an IT manager, i have bought a new Intel server with the latest SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise ed, trying to get the latest stuff, something that would not hassle me again for the next few years. Having said that, I am surprise when our 3rd party vendors requesting ask to downgrade since the latest specs for that new server have not been tested and they are not compliant with it. I think most of the IT industries do not care whether the new stuffs have arrive since what is important to them is NOT to affect one's business which could be costly!

Lamini
Lamini

M$ doesnt make money for updating old(er) software, they make $$$ by selling new software.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

Microsoft is actually going to force us all onto th new platforms eventually. I believe in 2011-12 the plug s being pulled on Server 2003 support. Of course we can continue to run these servers but they will not be patched. I wonder how Windows 2000 people are getting along. Any issues? You can't say that Microsoft is evil for wanting to move onto a more profitable platform - its just business.

pickleman
pickleman

Based on the title alone -- even before seeing the author's name, and even before listening to a single word of the audio itself -- I so knew this had "Jason Hiner" written all over it. Yes, Jason, I.T. really DOES care about servers. More so than ever before. Not everybody has their head in "the cloud" as you do.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Of course, the cloud is run completely by servers. :-) Seriously though, the point is that servers themselves don't matter, it's what you can do with them. And most IT pros I talk to are in no hurry to upgrade servers unless they can do something big like cut power consumption by 30%, consolidate the number of servers significantly to save money in data center costs, etc.

whatisnew
whatisnew

I handle a small network (about 50 nodes) with 1.5 Mbps T1. Users still need file, print, and in-house application servers locally. Cloud is not necessary in my case.

gdewrance
gdewrance

Now that HyperV allows for 4 x instances on Server 2008 Ent, unlimited for Datacenter, and which requires Intel VT or AMD-V enabled we need to find the best processors for the job.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

We often have servers in production for five or six years. Having enough horsepower up front ensures the device can be reused for non-critical tasks in its 'golden years'. Desktops? Few workplace users are stressing their 2.5 gig or better systems these days. I pay attention when getting new systems for my power users (in my shop those are mostly CAD users and production schedulers); everybody else can get by with low-end corporate-grade systems.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I'm hearing similar stories from a lot of the IT pros I talk with, but I'm also hearing that they aren't upgrading equipment unless it's failing or near death.

mafergus
mafergus

I deal with a number of companies who are locked into hardware because their vendors are locked into old technology. One firm I dealt with had multiple dedicated boxes because each vendor would not provide any support if any other process was running on "their" box. For other companies, it is easier for them to maintain older hardware. Last generation servers and parts and pretty much free and the reliability is still pretty high. For small companies, it has made it a lot easier to make the case to begin using server class hardware, especially for the "a pc is more then good enough" crowd.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

those servers failing or near death are being replaced by virtual ones. There's another reason why processor speed is still important in a server: because these days it's more than likely going to be hosting a number of virtual guests.

bobdavis321
bobdavis321

A few months ago I knew of several companies still running Server 2000 on single core processors. They are all upgrading (likely because the old servers were getting infected, slowing to a crawl or all together crashing). When we upgraded our server our backup time went from all night (12+ hours) to 1/2 and hour......

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

It just seems foolish not to take advantage of the energy savngs, not only that te business can use this as a green edged sword. I think it is a great idea to get into these new servers and even if the ROI is a bit over-hyped I still think the savings in the upgrade will come.

craigbe
craigbe

What were you doing for disaster recovery on a server that old, or was it not used for mission critical apps?

bobdavis321
bobdavis321

Just keep a clone or buy an identical used one on Ebay. Its easy to backup old servers too. Just a couple of years ago they discovered that over 50% of companies still had Windows 2000 running somewhere (Most likely a server).