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Our Readers Want Reliable Servers

You say you would choose a reliable server over a cheap one. Next: What is your strategy for office productivity?

Reliability is valued above all else when it comes to buying servers for the enterprise, according to the latest poll of eWEEK readers, overriding other factors such as brand, energy efficiency, and even cost.

Over half of you (53 percent) said that reliability was the most important feature in a business server. This is perhaps unsurprising given the reputational damage that outages cause. A recent survey sponsored by CA Technologies revealed that IT outages substantially damage companies’ reputations, staff morale and customer loyalty – as the recent crashes at Skype, Amazon and O2 have proved.

Downtime is also extremely expensive. A report by Emerson Network Power also found that businesses lose around $5,000 (£3,000) per minute during an outage. At that rate, $300,000 per hour is not something to dismiss lightly.

Cost still figures

After reliability, the second most important feature is cost, with 20 percent of respondents citing either the initial price of the server or the lifetime cost as a primary consideration. Many data centre operators are now trying to reduce their overheads by virtualising their server suites, allowing them to process and store more data using the same amount of equipment.

Meanwhile, compatibility was an issue for 9 percent of you, with 7.5 percent citing software compatibility and 1.5 percent concerned about physical compatibility. Despite the move towards greater adoption of open source technology, many companies are still locked in to a particular vendor, limiting their choice of equipment and software.

Six percent of you cited the brand of the server as being important; and only six percent said that energy efficiency was a primary consideration, despite the looming threat of the government’s energy-cutting CRC scheme. This could change if and when the so-called ‘stealth tax’ comes into force, penalising large organisations for each tonne of CO2 produced by the energy they use.

Perhaps due to these upcoming charges, six percent of you think companies should be outsourcing their data to the cloud, where they will not have to worry about individual servers, or how much energy they are using. The number of people who believe this is relatively small, however, backing up the findings of a previous poll, that many of our readers still mistrust the cloud.

Finally, one reader was not satisfied with the options we gave him, stating that ownership and complete control of his company’s data (including the ability to remove it completely at his own choosing) was much more important then all the points mentioned in the poll.

What’s your office productivity strategy?

Next week, we want to know about your company’s strategic plans for office productivity. Are you a die-hard Microsoft Office user, choosing software from a company you trust and keeping all your documents safely on the desktop? Or do you use a free open source alternative, such as OpenOffice?

Or perhaps you are thinking about moving all your office applications to the cloud, saving on storage and enabling access from any computer or device, at any time? Many companies have become familiar with Google Docs over the past few years, and with the launch of Microsoft Office 365, many more may start considering the cloud option in the future.

Or is it all just too much of a security risk? Let us know what you think using the poll on the left hand side of the site, and if you use any weird and wonderful office programmes that we’ve missed out, feel free to add them using the ‘other’ option.