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Senior Editor

Server battle royale

Sep 03, 20032 mins

* Proprietary vs. open systems

Proprietary vs. open systems.  Seems like the battle between those factions has been going on for years.

Network World’s Jennifer Mears take a look at the battle in the server hardware realm this week. In the article analysts say they expect more businesses to make similar shifts as the performance of  x86-based machines – those servers that run on industry standard chips from Intel and AMD – improves, offering stepped up processing power and scalability at prices below RISC-based boxes.

Today, more than 90% of the servers that sell for $25,000 or less are based on Intel chips and analysts expect Intel to become more widely used in midrange servers, as well. In fact, Giga, a wholly owned subsidiary of Forrester Research, predicts that within five years Intel-based platforms running Linux and Microsoft operating systems will “take at least half of the market share currently owned by RISC/Unix.”

A number of factors are helping push the trend, not the least of which is the tough economy that is forcing companies to look for ways to save money, while maintaining performance. Intel is feeding into that desire by investing heavily in its chips and earlier this summer rolled out new and improved Xeon MP and Itanium 2 processors. 

In addition, operating systems from Linux and Microsoft, which run on x86, continue to mature and virtualization software for Intel-based machines from companies like VMware increase the flexibility of Intel-based boxes.

Further, a wider array of applications that are available for x86 vs. proprietary systems and the fact that competition is pushing prices of x86 servers down and their performance and scalability up makes them an increasingly viable option.