CIOs In No Rush To Buy Intel's Nehalem


"While this is a threshold advance, it doesn't do much for me. It doesn't make my life more interesting," said Tom Amrhein, director of information services at Forrester Construction, a Rockville, Md.-based company. "Our framework is to try to get out of the hardware layer entirely and into more of a services framework."

Forrester Construction may look to replace some servers this year but only if its legacy machines start hitting their CPU thresholds, Amrhein said. "We're not going to accelerate that based on availability of a new chip speed or new faster processors," he added.

It's not like Forrester Construction is unwilling to try new technology. The company adopted Vista early on, successfully, and said all the pieces are in place to upgrade to Windows 7. "We've done all the testing around Vista, going to 7 would be a piece of cake," he said.

Regarding Nehalem, Intel hit the ground with 17 new enterprise-class server/workstation processors based on the Nehalem microarchitecture, including 14 dual-core and quad-core chips in the Xeon 5500 series (formerly code-named Gainestown) ranging in price from $188 to $1,600 for 1,000-unit orders, and three in the Xeon 3500 series (formerly Bloomfield) available for $284, $562 and $999.

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Gary Lee, vice president of data center at Carfax, a Columbia, Mo.-based vehicle history information provider, echoed Amrhein's opinion that Nehalem will have to wait for now.

"[We've] long since stopped caring [about processors] because we purchase based on our needs rather than what Intel, or AMD, is currently pushing," Lee said.

CIOs' reluctance to immediately embrace Nehalem is not surprising, according to Toby Bell, research vice president at Gartner. More enterprises now look at technology only if it improves business processes, Bell said.

"That's broadly true in other areas of tech spend as well," Bell said. "One thing that's happened the last few years is the alignment of IT and business strategy has begun to be made clear in our survey data. The CIO as business leader or as business leadership participant seems quite clear. If I can improve my processes toward better ROI, advising regulators and partners better, all of those things are areas where even minor improvements can yield great success. It makes sense to focus on process improvement, particularly where IT and business strategies can most clearly align."