Evaluating server suppliers can be tough.

In considering the Big Four, with similar options from the same chip manufacturers, NICs from the same networking vendors, and the same OEM’s disk and memory options, it can be difficult to look at servers as anything but a commodity.

On the other hand, each server supplier has their own unique messaging around how their server is the only server, and you are foolish to even consider any other option.

Sadly, there is no easy button. Speeds and feeds, if we are keeping it real, can be closely duplicated across brands. If you are looking for a differentiator, consider management tools. They are not all created alike. Here is a quick breakdown.

Lenovo XClarity

First, IT folks seem to expect a pricing advantage when choosing Lenovo. This does not seem to be the case: ‘… the price, for example, for the memory option, does not match other vendors such as HP or Dell.’ peerspot.com XClarity Controller does not monitor other suppliers, which means additional complexity and panes of glass XClarity caps at managing 1,000 servers – a paltry number compared to the other three XClarity files are triple the size, which means more time to execute and reboot Automation: This is the point, right? Not so much with XClarity – automation in response to alerts is not supported. Custom reports are also a no-go in XClarity

HPE OneView

Separate instances of OneView are required to manage Rack and Blade chassis (we live for managing management tools, right?) Because OneView does not recognize Converged (Blade) chassis as a system, management is wound back to the component level – something converged is designed to fix in the first place Automation: pack your coding chops, nothing comes pre-packaged While HPE dubs OneView as all-inclusive, storage management is not comprehensive

Cisco UCS Manager

UCS Manager only monitors Cisco. Is it realistic in 2022 to assume a 100% homogenous environment? Security: Surprisingly, Cisco offers no Silicon Root of Trust, no digitally signed firmware updates, no real-time firmware security scanning – all critical in detecting configuration drift and ensuring secure architecture that takes less time to manage Complexity: A UCS Manager instance is required for each domain. Multiple UCS Managers are managed by UCS Central (manager of the managers?). Cisco, not generally known for simplicity, stays the course here. Complexity in configuration and management costs time. Time is money. No OS deployment Data and management networks are one in the same. If one goes down, the whole thing goes down.

Dell OpenManage

Manage up to 8,000 devices from one, easy to use console, with elastic search for easier and faster navigation to what’s important

Deploy and manage infrastructure (including OS) for any Dell form factor as well as monitoring and creating alerts for 3rd party solutions

Template based automation is easy to get into production

Customizable Reports that are easy to get started and modify for your environment

Certainly, this is a high-level view, and management requirements are as unique as the workloads that drive the infrastructure. In any event, the criteria that really makes for the ‘best’ server go well beyond the experience of ‘that one time I called support in 2007.’

For more information, please contact myself, tfrederking@abtechtechnologies.com, or my AE, Barb Adkison at badkison@abtechtechnologies.com

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