Monday, September 20, 2021

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Background on TCO

What Was Measured

Who Was Surveyed

Configurations Tested

Breakdown of the
TCO Components

Importance of Reliability

The Value of an Hour

Cluster Reliability Findings

Class 1 TCO Findings

Class 2 TCO Findings


Total Cost of Ownership for Enterprise Class Clusters

A Detailed Comparison of the Total Cost of Ownership of Four Different RISC-Based Cluster Solutions Designed to Provide High Availability. (June 2000)

With the rapid growth of e-business and e-commerce applications, more and more companies are deploying server clusters in an effort to keep their primary applications up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TechWise Research recently published a report on these clusters titled Quantifying the Value of Availability. This white paper goes one step further than that study, by providing a robust total cost of ownership analysis of four different brands of high-end RISC-based clusters: Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems.

TechWise Research interviewed 93 IT professionals in the United States to collect all the costs associated with installing, managing, and maintaining these clusters. In addition, we collected the number of hours, as well as costs, for various downtime events each company experienced over a twelve-month period. Current system and service pricing was provided by IDEAS International. All of these findings were combined to calculate the total cost of ownership for two different configurations of high-end clusters (called Class 1 and Class 2). Since the value of application availability varies from firm to firm, the TCO was calculated at various hourly downtime rates ranging from $25,000 to $300,000 per hour.

Study Results: The list price for the Class 1 and Class 2 configurations used in this study ranged from $1 million to $3 million dollars. Despite these high price points, acquisition costs represent only a small portion of the total cost of ownership over a five-year period. That is because these clusters are deployed in mission critical applications where the cost per hour of downtime is measured in the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars. The costs associated with cluster downtime represent the largest portion of TCO. The 93 respondents in this study reported that their average cost per hour of downtime was $71,000. Using this $71,000 per hour value with our Class 1 configuration, we found that Compaq AlphaServer OpenVMS Clusters have the lowest TCO followed by IBM, HP, and Sun. Compaq’s advantage over these vendors is $1.8 million, $4.4 million, and $5.4 million respectively, over a period of five years. These findings were similar for the Class 2 configuration. Regardless of configuration, Compaq has the lowest TCO in situations where the downtime cost is $50,000 or more per hour. In contrast, IBM has the lowest TCO for Class 2 configurations when the cost per hour of downtime is $25,000.

This white paper explains and summarizes the results of the research study.

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