Six Server Segments: Guidelines for Categorizing Servers Page 3

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jan 5, 2000


Correlation Factors

Now that we have defined the segments, we can address the questions of: What can we expect to get for our money, and what is the correlation between market segment and feature/function set? In other words, on which areas (e.g., processing power, reliability, or price) can we expect each of the segments to focus?

The features and functions that matter in servers are separated into two general groups: "goals" (which are more strategic in nature naturedures" (which are more tactical in nature). Goals are the overarching categories, and features are the implementation methods or physical constructs by which the goals are achieved.

The factors listed in Table 1 are a sampling of some of the more important ones; enterprises may find others relevant to their particular situation or need. Different enterprises will have different requirements, and thus factor weightings will vary by enterprise. Because of this, the relative "weight" of each factor is not part of Table 1. Enterprises can use Table 1, in concert with other sizing tools (usually based on the software or infrastructure, such as SAP R/3 or Microsoft Exchange), to help determine which class of server will be best suited to their needs.

Outlook

As the server market consolidates, market/product segment distinctions — especially at the low end — will blur. We believe that within 12-24 months, there will be only three size-related segments (entry/workgroup, department, and enterprise) as well as the general class of appliance servers. As the number of segments decreases, the distinction between them will increase. However, certain patterns will be maintained, such as enterprise servers needing to be extremely reliable. Enterprises should keep these factors in mind as they move toward future server purchases.

Table 1 shows the correlation of the various goals and features to the defined segments.

Table 1
Goals and Features of Each Segment

App. Wkgrp. Dept Midrange Ent. Super-
ent.
Goals
           
Performance/
Power
H
M
M
H
H
H
High
Reliability
L-M
M
M
M-H
H
H
Price
H
H
H
M
M
M
TCO
H
H
H
H
M
M
Flexibility
L
L
M
M
H
H
Service/
Support
L
M
M
M
H
H
 
Features
Multiple
CPUs (qty.)
L
L
L
M
H
H
Storage (Internal)
L
M
H
H
H
M
Redundancy
L
L
M
M
H
H
     Fans
L
L
L
M
H
H
     Power
M
L
M
H
H
H
     NICs
M
L
L
M
H
H
Hot Swap/
Maintainability
L
L-M
M
M
H
H
     Fans
L
L
 M
M
H
H
     Drives
M-H
M
M
H
H
H
     Power
L
L
M
M
H
H
 
How to Interpret
Table 1
Correlation Factor
 L
Low
L-M 
Low/Medium
M
Medium
M-H
Medium/High
H
High
For any given factor, a correlation rating (low, medium, or high) is given for each of the segments. This rating is an indicator of how much emphasis is placed on a particular factor for that particular segment. For example, "price" is very important in the selection of a workgroup or an appliance server, but not quite as important for a superenterprise server. Similarly, "high reliability" is very important in the enterprise and superenterprise market space, but is less of a consideration for an appliance server.

Factor Definitions:

Performance/Power: Computational (or similar) power, the ability to perform a large number of operations or to handle a large workload

High Reliability: The ability to run without a nonrecoverable failure for long periods of time ("reliability" is a goal for all classes of server; the term "high reliability" is used because different server classes require different levels of reliability)

Price: Base system price, or price with a modest complement of features added

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): An amalgam of fully-configured system price, installation/set-up/training costs, infrastructure costs, downtime costs, and other factors

Flexibility: The ability of the server to be reconfigured for disparate tasks and functionality, as needed by the user.

Service/Support: Related to availability and reliability, maintainability, and ease-of-use considerations.

High CPU Quantity: Whether a server can support four, eight, or more CPUs

Storage(Internal): The storage capacity, both in terms of raw space (i.e., how many gigabytes) and the number of disk drives a server can support inside the chassis

Redundancy: Whether a given component (e.g., fan, power supply, network interface card, or disk drive) has a back-up and a failover mechanism; redundancy is a method for improving system reliability/availability

Hot Swap/Maintainability: The ability to remove and replace a component (e.g., fan, disk drive, or power supply) without having to shut down the system or cause processing functions to stop

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