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The best server hardware to maximize IT performance

Get the latest tips on compute, networking and storage to choose the best server hardware to tackle IT workloads.

Data centers globally are undergoing refreshes, expansion, re-architecting and other big moves to become more agile and perform faster and better. They require the best server hardware -- from mainframes to disaggregated servers -- as well as advanced networking and storage infrastructure.

Data center hardware advances target new workloads such as big data processing, as well as higher efficiency for existing apps and services. The best server hardware for your data center depends on existing and planned application architectures, data center operations staff skills and of course the IT budget.

These top tips on the latest in servers, storage and networking will inform data center managers how to keep ahead of challenging IT demands.

10. A mainframe for modern IT

Mainframes may seem like an antiquated technology in the world of scale-out servers, but IBM wants you to see it differently. The company aimed its IBM System z mainframe at mobile and cloud environments in an effort to flip the decreasing interest in mainframe-based IT workloads.

9. The best server hardware -- that isn't a server

You won't find these nano servers operating in today's enterprise data centers, but this concept could underpin the world of ubiquitous IT in the near future. How would constant hardware refreshes change your IT ops? How would modularity tie together data center and end-user computing?

8. Big data servers stay at home

Some IT workloads seem predestined for cloud computing, but not big data. Some companies don't trust third-party cloud vendors with the security of this sensitive corporate information. The best server hardware for compute- and I/O-intensive big data analytics is owned, not rented, at least for now.

7. Ready for converged data center hardware?

Hyper-converged infrastructure suits particular applications such as virtual desktop infrastructure and branch office IT, as well as production workloads in small and enterprise data centers. To determine the best HCI product for your IT workloads, compare offerings from three of the most well-known vendors: SimpliVity, Nutanix and VMware.

6. Disaggregate and conquer: The reconfigurable server hardware

A disaggregated server puts CPU, memory and I/O together in whatever configuration best suits the IT workload at hand. The goal is to utilize every available data center resource. These composed systems could move from hyperscale to enterprise IT organizations.

5. How to buy the best blade servers

Blade servers are actually composed of multiple individual server blades housed in a chassis, making them dense, powerful systems for the right applications. IT buyers focus most on hardware performance to choose the right blade system, more than cost or their relationship with the vendor, or management features on the product.

4. Improve data center networks

The best server hardware calls for the best network setup. Complex workloads, increased virtualization and the appeal of private and hybrid cloud are just a few of the motivating factors bringing IT organizations to data center network upgrades.

3. Data center storage in the virtualized world

Data center storage hardware evolved alongside physical server hardware for years, with storage architectures tailored to the workload's I/O patterns. Then virtualization took over and introduced a lot of random I/O. Now storage arrays are evolving to offer the best performance.

2. Add a little or a lot of flash to data center hardware

Flash storage can improve operations at the server level, in concert with traditional disk-based storage or in all-flash arrays. The best storage hardware setup for your data center depends on raw storage capacity, IOPS performance

1. New SAN or hyper-converged system?

The storage area network provides dedicated, high-speed storage interconnections for data center servers. But it also requires a skilled storage administrator and deep technical knowledge about IT architectures. Hyper-converged storage does not.

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