Blade Servers Preferred Over Rack Servers (Based on Q3 2013 Report by TBR)

In October, Technology Business Research (TBR) released a report titled, “Corporate IT Buying Behavior & Customer Satisfaction Study x86-based Servers” in which they discussed several topics around customer satisfaction such as Sales and Setup, Server Hardware and Service and Support.  Although the report (linked below) is 109 pages, below are a couple of key topics which I found interesting.

NOTE: According to their website, TBR specializes in providing in-depth and timely insights within the computer, software, telecom, mobility, and professional services industries. These critical insights can provide value to all levels of your organization: executive, sales, marketing, product and business development, finance, procurement, and others. We deliver this intelligence in a format that is uniquely responsive and tailored to your needs. And we do so as an objective source, which allows you to look at the market with a fresh, impartial perspective.  In other words, although many findings favor Dell (whom I work for) the study was an independent study.

Executive Summary highlighted in the Report:

  • Dell took the No. 1 weighted satisfaction index position this quarter
    after a tie-breaker with HP
  • Customers focus on what they are getting for their dollar — high value is
    key when making long-term server hardware investments
  • Dell continued to drive high satisfaction through sales-, product- and
    support-related attributes — earning the top spot followed closely by HP
  • Customer feedback commends reliability of servers and knowledgeable
    services, increasing each vendors’ overall customer satisfaction
  • Dependable hardware qualifies a vendor in a deal, but perceived high
    value and a strong set of services drive differentiation
  • Customers aim to maximize server value through management costs,
    reliability and longevity
  • Of Dell customers, 87% said they would buy again, citing solid reliability
    and performance as key factors of purchase
  • HP continued to have the highest percentage of customers who said they
    would buy again, but energy and efficiency have become concern areas
  • IBM customers are most willing to purchase the vendor’s servers again
    due to their high reliability, performance and integration
  • Although server value meets customers’ expectations, loyalty scores
    declined across all vendors compared to the prior quarter
  • Although customer loyalty scores fell slightly, Dell’s satisfaction scores
    increased overall, earning the vendor the No. 1 position for the quarter
  • HP earned the No. 2 position, despite a decline in server customer loyalty,
    as all attributes increased in satisfaction scores
  • IBM’s customer satisfaction and loyalty scores fell overall this quarter,
    sacrificing the vendor’s No 1 position for the first time since 3Q12

As mentioned above, there are 109 pages of findings, many not only comparing vendors, but also comparing form factors.  In the image below, you see that “Initial hardware quality” between blade and rack servers show a slight advantage for blade servers with Dell and IBM whereas HP showed an advantage of rack servers.

TBR Q3 2013 Report - Initital Hardware Quality Blade vs Rack Server

Likewise, when reviewing overall blade server performance vs. rack servers, the majority of the customers surveyed gave blade servers the advantage.

TBR Q3 2013 Report - Performance Blade vs Rack Server

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to recap all of the findings from the TBR Q3 2013 report, so I encourage you to download it (below) and review it yourself.  Based on the information from the report, the data was collected Surveys collected between April 15, 2013, and Sept. 19, 2013.  Here is the range of customers surveyed:


TBR Survey Sample (Q3 2013 report)


Here is the complete report: [8.12.2014 – document removed upon request of TBR due to rights violation.]

Please let me know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter at @kevin_houston.  Thanks for reading!



Kevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of  He has over 15 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.