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HP, IBM lead in support services

Research firm Gartner gives Hewlett-Packard and Big Blue top marks among major server computer sellers when it comes to so-called high-availability support services.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM rank highest among major server computer sellers when it comes to "high availability" support services, according to market research firm Gartner.

In a report published Wednesday, Gartner evaluated nine server companies on their ability to provide high-availability services. Gartner defined high-availability services as "services that provide the highest level of proactive and reactive support" including consulting and integration services that "maximize the available uptime and minimize the unplanned downtime of operating systems and hardware."

HP ranked first in both "completeness of vision" and "ability to execute," and IBM ranked second in both categories. Other companies labeled as "leaders" by Gartner were Unisys, Stratus Technologies and Fujitsu Technology Solutions. Earlier this month, Fujitsu Technology Solutions became part of a broader Fujitsu subsidiary called Fujitsu Computer Systems.

"Sustaining high levels of system availability continues to be a key issue and concern for many organizations," Gartner said. "A major reason for this is that increasingly complex system architectures make it extremely hard to manage systems to very high or continuous levels of availability."

Gartner said the difficult economic climate has made the problem worse with an increasing number of acquisitions and changes to business models.

"Completeness of vision" refers to a company's focus and investment in the future of high-availability services, Gartner said. "Ability to execute" relates to how well a company is doing based on current business and technological realities and on what is being delivered, Gartner said.

HP's services wing has been growing and has landed major information technology outsourcing contracts with companies including Procter & Gamble.