With all the talk of the cloud over the past few years, you'd be forgiven if you thought that on-premise solutions were a dead-end.
Of course, this isn't the case, but the idea becomes clearer if you talk to Mike Ross, director of systems integrator and software developer Holistec Systems in Wellington.
“If the cloud is so popular, why are so many people still buying servers?” Ross asks.
He answers his own question. “The cloud serves email, but the rest of what the cloud offers is still fraught with issues around our ridiculous broadband. It’s third world latency, speed, uptime and volume limits. Half my time is spent fixing internet connections.
“Servers are still required for most documents and applications like MYOB.”
Holistec Systems sells IBM product, which Ross is very enthusiastic about.
“As a reseller, I can tell you that people prefer IBM over HP or Dell. People accept our advice because resellers are seen as trusted advisers. It’s certainly that way in the SME market (he measures SME as up to 100 users).”
Out of curiosity, he conducted a recent experiment, comparing a six-year-old IBM X236 server, rated for 10 users, with the current 10-user X3650 model. “We uploaded a 16GB SQL database on each: the older model took 1 hour 10 minutes; the new model three and a half minutes. The pricing for each is similar.
“IBM has done a lot of work with NUMA (non-uniform memory architecture), faster processors and increased the transfer rate of its hard drives from 3GB per second to 6GB per second.
“HP and Dell servers are more complex because they add all sorts of tools and utilities. They say these add value but they have the reverse effect, making the servers more complicated, slow and proprietary.
“IBM used to be like that but they’ve now driven out the complexity and simplified them.
“Customers never complain about their servers being too fast.
“IBM also has a fantastic help desk, out of Australia, for the reseller.”
Ross concedes that the more complex products might be quite a different proposition in enterprise and government sites.