Pure Flash: Catching Up Or Racing Ahead?
Jun15

Pure Flash: Catching Up Or Racing Ahead?

SAN FRANCISCO: There were a number of product announcements, some fascinating market research, and insights into the future provided at, and leading up to, this week’s Pure//Accelerate 2017, the second annual customer/partner event from enterprise flash storage market light-heavyweight Pure Storage, Nearing the $1-billion revenue mark, the company is comfortably in the top five flash vendors and offers an interesting perspective on where the market is, and where it might be going. The company’s marketing slogan — or at least one of them — is software-driven, hardware-accelerated, so it’s appropriate that there were more than 25 software announcements, all delivered in evergreen, all seamless upgrades. “Our core DNA is software,” said Scott ‘Dietz’ Dietzen, CEO of Pure Storage. The announcements included: Pure1 META, it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for delivering on the vision of self-driving storage; its vision for the data platform for the cloud era; major updates to its flagship software, Purity, Purity for FlashArray 5.0, and Purity for FlashBlade 2.0; and Purity CloudSnap, which extends Purity’s Snapshots to FlashBlade, NFS, and the public cloud. In April Pure announced FlashArray//X, the first mainstream all-NVMe FlashArray,  a new protocol for communicating with flash that provides the ‘low-latency and parallelism that promises to take the potential of flash to new heights,’ blogged Max Kixmoeller, Pure’s VP, Products. A month later it launched the NVMe Now promotion, an extension to the company’s TB-for-TB trade-in program Evergreen Storage. Through October 31, 2017, organizations using VMAX and XtremIO can upgrade to FlashArray//X, providing customers a “total cost of ownership savings of close to 50 percent over six years.” When asked how Pure’s portfolio now compares to the competition, storage guru Mark Peters, ESG Practice Director and Senior Analyst (Storage), Enterprise Strategy Group, gave them a solid ‘B’ and said they are now comparable, with the following caveats. It depends on how your define their competition and how you define their portfolio, he explained. “Assuming you are comparing to other AFA folks and just on the product rather than all the consumption and support choices, then they are now (at last) at least on par… maybe even with some nice advanced differentiators. If you compare to a broader storage, HCI or IT provider, clearly they have a long way to go.” If you assume it’s by how you define their portfolio, he views it as an iceberg. “To date we are only seeing a small % above the water (hence the solid “B”….but their architecture and approach means that their portfolio has immense extensibility — we are just not exposed to it all yet (so maybe an A’).” At least one competitor appears concerned about...

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HPE: “Nowhere Left To Hide”
Jun08

HPE: “Nowhere Left To Hide”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is in Sin City this week, holding its annual customer and partner event (HPE Discover 2017), accompanied with the usual flurry of product announcements and preceded by another troubling financial report. HPE’s Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, believes the company is heading for an upswing, “accelerating out of the turnaround”, according to a recent interview. “I can feel it,” she said. “It is just smarter, easier, simpler. You cannot underestimate the accountability. There is nowhere left to hide at this company. I see a perfect place. There is nowhere left for partners to hide. There is no place for HPE employees to hide. It just makes things far easier and, frankly, more fun because you can get stuff done faster.” Faster, maybe, but better? HPE’s commodity hardware businesses and primary revenue generators — servers, storage, and to a lesser extent, networking — all took hits in the most recent quarter, with the to-be-expected impacts on revenues and margins. Second quarter FY17, announced on May 31, included a 13% year-over-year drop in GAAP net revenue ($7.4 billion vs $8.5 billion), and a more than 50% drop in GAAP operating margin (2.4% vs 2016’s 5.3%). While Whitman is predicting a speedy upturn, the current performance is not reassuring: -Enterprise Group revenue was $6.2 billion, down 13% year over year, down 7% when adjusted for divestitures and currency, with an 8.8% operating margin; -servers revenue was down 14%; -storage revenue was down 13%; and, -networking revenue was down 30%. Overall IT spending is expected to inch up 1.4% this year, to $3.5 trillion, with the datacenter segment pegged at a very anemic 0.3% growth. “We are seeing a shift in who is buying servers and who they are buying them from” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Enterprises are moving away from buying servers from the traditional vendors and instead renting server power in the cloud from companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This has created a reduction in spending on servers which is impacting the overall data center system segment.” Vendor revenue for the global server market declined 4.6% to $11.8 billion in 1Q17, but HPE took a much bigger hit, with a 15.8% YoY decline in sales. Second-place Dell — 20.1% vs HPE’s 24.2% market share — grew its revenues 4.7%, while Cisco, IBM, and Lenovo were statistically tied for third place, and all saw revenue declines (3%, 34.7% and 16.5%, respectively). Storage was worse. 4Q16 enterprise factory revenue was down 6.7% YoY, to $11.1 billion, with Dell holding down top spot, courtesy of its EMC acquisition, and with HPE tied with...

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CA Levels The Playing Field
Jun01

CA Levels The Playing Field

SAN JOSE: CA Technologies has a storied past that began with the mainframe back in 1976, but it’s looking to reinvent itself as the architect of the ‘modern software factory’ which will make Digital Transformation a reality. It’s all about rapid — and frequent — change, levelling the playing field, and the keys include a focus on business agility, a high degree of automation and reducing time to market, all while securing that software lifecycle, said CA President and Chief Product Officer Ayman Sayed. DT is a business phenomenon, as much as it is driven by cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security. But technology enables that phenomenon, he said. “Every business strategy is a technology strategy.” The good news for CA, is that while technology may be the foundation of DT and the next industrial revolution, this will be a software-driven revolution. “I think the time is right… our portfolio is well positioned,” added Sayed. The challenge is that many people still think of CA as it used to be 5-10 years ago, a vendor of legacy software, and not the supplier of the tools and methodologies for today’s emerging ‘app economy’. “The key thing is that we need to see that perception catches up to reality,” said Sayed. The company has been around for quite a few decades, established a reputation, and people see CA in a specific way that doesn’t actually apply to who it is today, agreed CA’s Otto Berkes, EVP and Chief Technology Officer. Management wants to drive awareness that CA has a new and interesting story to tell, one based on technology transformation and business transformation. The company’s current value proposition is helping its customers reinvent their businesses, transform their businesses, said Sayed. We do this by giving them the tools, technology and expertise to become the modern software factory, enabling them to build the modern software factory. CA is building in analytics, machine learning and intelligence, and security in everything it creates, he added. “Transform or die, disrupt or be disrupted. It’s an ongoing journey, not a checkmark,” explained Sayed Once you’ve established these elements of digital engagement there are lots of ways to transform the business, he said. “The new world is one that levels the playing field.” Technology and DT level the playing field, give you much larger scale and reach, added Sayed. There is a gap between current capabilities and desired objectives, said Berkes. “Enterprises don’t have efficient mechanisms for turning ideas into software,” but CA’s portfolio, built around agile, DevOps, and security, “an end-to-end value proposition,” delivers maximum value...

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Dell EMC: Laughing All The Way To The Bank
May18

Dell EMC: Laughing All The Way To The Bank

LAS VEGAS: The second Dell EMC World is over, a variety of products and services have been unveiled, 13,500 customers, partners and staff have gone home — including me, so ignore the address above — and now comes the $60-billion-plus question, what comes next? For the ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ like HPE’s Meg Whitman, the company is struggling to stay afloat with $50 billion in debt, it’s mired in hardware-based, commodity hell and is quickly becoming obsolete as everything moves to the cloud and IT as a Service. The reality is far different: Dell is a leader in 15 of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants; it is the largest enterprise storage vendor; it is the third largest PC vendor, but unlike many of its competitors, is growing market share and increasing ASPs. All told, the combined entity — including Dell Technologies, Dell EMC, RSA, Pivotal, Virtustream and VMware — is bringing in $75 billion a year, which is not too shabby. “It’s all about show me the money,” said Forrester analyst Glenn O’Donnell, and the company is “laughing all the way to the bank,” posting solid numbers as it closes in on its first year following the EMC acquisition. According to a recent interview with David Goulden, president of Dell EMC, the company’s focus is a long-term game, looking three to five years in the future, where they see an even more consolidated industry than today and where they are uniquely positioned as an essential infrastructure, broad-based platform. Organizations are looking to have fewer information technology suppliers, and they want the ones they retain to be strategic and more capable, he pointed out. DEW17 was all about transformation — digital, IT, workforce and security — and I reached out to a number of analysts and asked them for their views on where Dell EMC is in its own transformation, and what it should focus on for the immediate future. Their responses follow: Rob Enderle, President and Principal Analyst, the Enderle Group: The IT market is hell bent on transformation at the moment and thanks to the promise of lower taxes and a huge ramp in valuations firms are investing in capital projects at an impressive rate so the opportunity, to quote President Trump, is HUGE! Their performance is good, the merger set them back far less than most expected largely because the execution literally set the bar for efforts like this and their old VCE unit was on the forefront as the most successful converged and hyper-converged provider. And it is these concepts that appear to be having the biggest impact on firms that truly want to change. Jaguar/Land Rover was...

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Dell Swans IT Up At DEW17
May11

Dell Swans IT Up At DEW17

LAS VEGAS:  The second Dell EMC World, coming just 6 months after the inaugural event, and a short 8 months after the historic $60 billion acquisition of EMC, offered the typical mix of new and old — new products and services, and the old (in this case falling somewhere between 6-8 months marination) — the combined PC, server and storage powerhouse’s continuing focus on digital transformation. DT is another cute phrase beloved of marketers and headline writers, but it’s also one that will change everything, and whether we’re talking about business, IT, workforce or security transformation, Dell wants to be a major part of it all. “I say we’re going to be the trusted provider of essential infrastructure for the next industrial revolution,” said Michael Dell in his keynote last October. He reinforced that promise this week before 13,500 customers, partners and staff, the biggest event in the two companies’ history. From public-cloud bashing — it can be twice as expensive as on-prem — to new pricing options that change IT buying from CapEx to OpEx with the option to walk away after 12 months, Dell was his usual upbeat self, outlining the company’s string of successes in its multiple markets, while repeating their commitment to transformation. “Making digital transformation happen, making it real is why we created Dell EMC,” he said. “Dell Technologies is a force multiplier to digital transformation.” And the company’s value proposition — “number one in everything, all in one place” — resonates with their customers, he added. The company holds third place in PC sales, behind HP and Lenovo, respectively, but it grew 6.2% year-over-year, and has been increasing its marketshare for 17 straight quarters, while increasing its average selling price, said Dell. It also maintained its hold on second place in servers for the fourth quarter, with 17.6% of vendor revenue, while revenue increased 0.1% YoY to $2.6 billion. Dell was the clear leader in converged systems with 44.9% share of the market segment, and external enterprise storage, accounting for 32.9% of worldwide revenues. Dell made a number of announcements this week (which will be covered in subsequent articles), including Hyper-Converged Infrastructure advancements and cloud-like consumption models for IT from the desktop to the datacenter, the 14th generation of PowerEdge servers, open networking products, appliance and cloud data protection additions, all-flash storage systems, Software-Defined Storage and Internet of Things news. However a week prior to the event the company made a sizeable commitment to Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering. It announced Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, a turnkey, hybrid cloud platform — due out later this year — that offers ‘a simple...

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ITOM Drives Pending HPE/Micro-Focus Spin-Merge
May04

ITOM Drives Pending HPE/Micro-Focus Spin-Merge

The Hewlett Packard Enterprise IT Operations Management Summit, this week’s three-day event in Dallas, is over, but how the ITOM business will move forward when HPE’s spin-merge with Micro-Focus is completed remains to be seen. The $8.8 billion transaction, which will earn HPE a $2.5 billion cash payment and a 50.1% stake in the combined company, is expected to close August 31, at which time Chris Hsu, COO and Executive Vice President of HPE Software, will become the CEO of the new entity. Recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings included details about HPE’s software business: total revenue in the 12 months through Oct. 31, 2016 were $3.17 billion and ITOM comprised 61% of the revenue. The rest of the portfolio changing hands were: Enterprise Security Products (18% of revenue), Information Management and Governance (16%) and Big Data Analytics (5%). Revenue for all products broke down to: 28% license, 9% software-as-a-service (SaaS), 50% maintenance, and 13% professional services. While a pure-play software company offers ‘promise’, Gartner stated that adding HPE’s ITOM and ADM offerings to Micro Focus’ portfolio creates ‘significant, complex and uncertain overlaps’. Analyst Rob Enderle, who has been unimpressed with the performance of HPE and President and CEO Meg Whitman, called the software business the idea that ‘just hasn’t died a well-deserved death.’ Prior to the spin-merge Forrester Research analyst Glenn O’Donnell predicted that a software deal would play into the direction the company has taken since it separated from HP Inc. “Selling the software business fits in with the strategy of breaking into smaller pieces, which is the company’s plan now,” he said. “There’s a lot of merit in that position, as a lot of those software components are not necessarily at the core for them.” There are no recent number for the ITOM market, but as of last July one survey put it as the largest component of the IT operations and services management market, and it was predicted to grow 7.5% annually between 2016 and 2024. The global ITOSM market was valued at $17.40 billion in 2015 and it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.5% through 2024 to reach $30.96 billion. In addition to HPE, key vendors include: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, BMC Software, ServiceNow, VMware, Compuware, and CA Technology. In March the company announced the release of Docker-certified ITOM monitoring solutions for Docker containers on the new Docker store, which was followed shortly after by the launch of four containerized versions of its ITOM offerings: Hybrid Cloud Management, Data Center Automation, Operations Bridge, and IT Service Management Automation. Incorporating built-in, open source container technology from Docker and Kubernetes, the four suites feature...

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