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Workgroup servers have undergone considerable changes over the recent past, thanks to multi-core CPUs. Today you could easily get a dual-socket, quad core CPU based server, which is the equivalent of an 8-way server, but at half the cost, size, complexity, and power consumption. All these factors are critical for most data centers today. The four key brands being considered for data centers, according to our survey, are IBM, HP-Compaq, Dell and HCL.

Here again, there's a sea-saw battle between IBM and HP-Compaq. This time, IBM has gained an edge and become the most future ready brand by just a slight margin, making it the winner of this year's Users' Choice award. HP-Compaq however, is giving it stiff competition, and is very close on its heels. Dell and HCL are a distant third and fourth.

HP-Compaq is the most persuasive brand of the lot, ie the highest probably conversions from top of mind recall to likelihood of purchase. Dell on the other hand, enjoys greater brand pull than any other brand. HCL has the lowest brand pull, and according to our survey, more CIOs were likely to switch out of it than switch in. HP-Compaq enjoys the highest brand loyalty among its existing users, with only 13% likely switch-out to other brands. HCL has the lowest brand loyalty, with a 28% likely switch-out, mostly to HP and IBM. It also has 31% users who're not sure about which brand to switch to.

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