Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?
Feb01

Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?

John Chambers, who handed control of Cisco to Chuck Robbins in July 2015, was bumped further upstairs a month ago when he became Chairman Emeritus, while his successor took over his role as Chairman of the Board, but more than a change in leadership, the turnover represents a new — and hopefully — improved networking, server and security vendor. The company, which has been struggling with the cloud and commodity hardware and software-based competitors for the last decade, looks poised for new life — and growth — as it hosts this week’s Cisco Live EMEA 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. Reinventing Cisco is not new. “We’re probably reinvented ourselves five or six times literally in the last two decades alone,” said Chambers shortly after moving up to the board. In an industry famous for it’s what-have-you-done-for-me-next philosophy, networking has been battered by explosive demands, increasing complexity and flat budgets, with the results that Cisco’s market domination has been mired in commodity hell. In Q3 its Ethernet switching business grew 7.4% year-over-year to $6.75 billion (56.7% market share), while the router market climbed 3% to 41.4%, up slightly sequentially (40.8%), but down year-over-year (44%). While networking accounts for the bulk of Cisco’s revenues, it’s been doing pretty well in the datacenter market with its server portfolio (i.e. UCS and HyperFlex), statistically tied with IBM for third place in 3Q17, with 5.8% of the market ($992 million), behind HPE (19.5%) and Dell (18.1%). Cisco also did very well in the converged systems market, and while it’s a much smaller segment, $2.99 billon vs $17 billon in Q3, the company held down second place between Dell (48.3%) and HPE (10.3% share, down 41.9% from a year-ago’s 18.1%), and grew its marketshare 56.4% YoY to $485.5 million. Security is another market where Cisco is growing strongly. Cybersecurity spending is expected to soar from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. According to ESG cybersecurity guru Jon Oltsik, “Cisco is one of only a handful of $2 billion-plus cybersecurity vendors that can grow its security revenue to over $5 billion by 2020.” At 4% of total revenues, the company’s security business is never going to be more than a wagging tail, but it grew 13% YoY in 2016, and 12% in the first nine months of 2017, which is way better than the switch and router business. A week ago Cisco expanded its cybersecurity portfolio with the acquisition of Skyport — a privately held company that has secured approximately $70 million in funding — whose core product platform is SkySecure Server, a physical server...

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DT Success Is… Elusive
Dec21

DT Success Is… Elusive

Everybody needs it. Most everybody is trying to achieve it. And the majority of those who try fail to realize its benefits. It is digital transformation — AKA DT, DX or Industry 4.0 — the multi-trillion-dollar business phenomenon enabled by cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and analytics (BDA), mobility, social media and security that is reshaping everything for the foreseeable future. Succeeding at DT is the next new normal, and the stakes are literally life and death, i.e. a 33% increase in speed to market; 40% increase in customer satisfaction; and 37% increase in new business revenue. On average, companies going digital expect to increase annual revenues by 2.9% and reduce costs by 3.6%, but businesses going all-in can achieve both revenue gains and cost reduction of more than 30% at the same time. So DT is an extinction-level phenomenom that is transforming all aspects of our lives, and while the stakes are high, the risks — and failure rates — are higher. The failure rates for unsuccessful digital transformation projects range from a low of only 70% to as high as 84%. The biggest DT barrier is cultural resistance to change, followed by legacy IT systems and retaining critical talent, respectively. “One of the things that our research and expertise consistently show is that shifting people and how they need to operate differently are where some of the big challenges are coming from, as more and more companies try to digitally transform,” said IDC’s Shawn Fitzgerald, research director, worldwide digital transformation strategies. Positioned as a Leader in IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Consulting and Systems Integration Services 2017 Vendor Assessment, Accenture is also grappling with DT internally, as its more than 400,000 professionals visit more than 10,000 customer sites daily, said CIO Andrew Wilson. He told IT Trends & Analysis that organizations need to transform from old techniques and waterfall philosophies to much more horizontal processes and experiences. “You have to be much more real-time.” The service provider practices what it preaches, focusing on the new skills and training required to enable an increasingly mobile and dispersed workforce to make the most effective use of the latest technologies. Wilson said his company is working to connect employees through social collaboration tools like The Stream, Accenture’s version of Facebook, that enables employees to stay connected with colleagues and communities, post updates and share knowledge anywhere. It also uses video communications, including the CIO’s monthly talk show for employees that features interviews with executives from Accenture and alliance partners. A key component of the SP’s DT-delivery capabilities is called Accenture Digital — consisting of Accenture Analytics, Accenture Interactive...

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HPE InfoSight Brings Autonomous DC (i.e. Skynet) Closer
Dec07

HPE InfoSight Brings Autonomous DC (i.e. Skynet) Closer

The upcoming termination of Meg Whitman’s reign is not the only Big Bang due out of Hewlett Packard Enterprise early next year: in January the drastically slimmed-down enterprise IT powerhouse will roll out a 3PAR-enabled artificial intelligence recommendation engine (InfoSight AIRE) that will take HPE closer to the autonomous datacenter, according to company officials. “Infosight is AI for the datacenter,” HPE’s Gavin Cohen, VP, Product and Solutions Marketing, Storage, told IT Trends & Analysis. “That’s something Nimble started building on from the start.” HPE announced the completion of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Nimble Storage in April, and while that significantly beefed up its flash and cloud storage assets, the company said it would be leveraging InfoSight across both its storage and server portfolios. Calling InfoSight the “crown jewels” of the Nimble acquisition, the AI power of the platform provides HPE and its partners with a big competitive advantage against any and all competitors, said Meg’s CEO successor-to-be (as of  February 1) HPE President Antonio Neri. “Nobody has this,” he said in a recent interview. The predictive analytics capabilities are sure to power dramatic reductions in storage total cost of ownership (TCO) for businesses of all sizes, he said. “It delivers the best performance with the best uptime and lowest TCO optimized for the specific workloads that run on the platform. The customer gets the best experience at the lowest cost.” Beyond storage are servers and ultimately the datacenter, and bringing AI and predictive analytics to the datacenter is not only necessary for protecting existing revenue streams, but essential to the autonomous datacenter. While we hopefully won’t get a Skynet, Terminator’s rise (and fall) of the machines, AI in the datacenter is coming quickly. By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services; by 2021, 75% of commercial enterprise apps will use AI; and the majority of adopters have seen quantified returns meeting or exceeding expectations. “AI is a positive force for change,” stated Mark Purdy, Managing Director-Economic Research, Accenture Research. “It has the potential to markedly increase growth rates and substantially raise economic output across industries, while helping organizations to more easily rotate to the new way of doing business.” A recent survey found that AI could boost average profitability rates by 38% and lead to an economic increase of $14 trillion by 2035. But all that remains in the future; today, we have AI-powered storage, or at least Nimble, and shortly, 3PAR, and the benefits are equally compelling. The AI and predictive analytics capabilities of InfoSight reduce the time spent troubleshooting issues by up to 85% and help to deliver greater than 99.9999% of guaranteed...

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CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke
Nov30

CA Wants To Be The One (DevSecOps) Throat To Choke

Whether it’s via a perfect storm, product onslaught or the ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ times, CA Technologies appears to be making steady, if slow, progress from its mainframe roots to the app-fueled digital transformation world where trust, AKA cybersecurity, is essential. Changing a $4-billion company is proving challenging, especially when you consider that the bulk of your business is tied up with a mainframe environment synonymous with slow and steady, as befits the platform that holds between 70-80% of corporate data and affects 70% of enterprise transactions. The software developer may be pushing the ‘software factory’ theme together with fast and agile DevOps, or the newer handle, DevSecOps, but that doesn’t mean it’s customers are comfortable with rapid changes. Not that they have much choice: only 12% of the Fortune 500 survived the period between 1955 and 2016, and up to 50% of the S&P 500 ranks are expected to be replaced over the next 10 years. So disruption is the name of the game, and CA is doing its best to change its spots and become the essential go-to partner for fast and agile DevSecOps where ‘everyone is responsible for security with the goal of safely distributing security decisions at speed and scale to those who hold the highest level of context without sacrificing the safety required.’ That’s a mouthful, but the stakes are mind-boggling, with the potential to take CA’s total addressable market from mainframe billions to DT/DevSecOps trillions. “The ability to manage change, respond to new inputs or insights and pivot has never been more important,” said CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire in his opening keynote . “Our entire portfolio is designed around the pillars of the Modern Software Factory to increase the velocity, security and performance of the solutions and the apps that are critical to our customers’ businesses.” He said the company is on a “deliberate journey”, balancing creation and execution and morphing from a solutions company to one that is focused on “accelerating business values.” Operational efficiency isn’t enough, Gregoire added. “First among the tools to confront these challenges is your Modern Software Factory. It ensures that your company is built to change and can adapt to an accelerating digital world.” We may be app-driven, but without security, you’re looking at a world of pain. With DevOps, CA helped break down the barriers between development and operations but “we don’t think about security,” said Gregoire in a media scrum following his keynote. The application is the weakest link in your chain, he said, so you need security involved right from the start, with the coder. However, rather than best-of-breed standalone tools, customers are...

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CA’s Perfect Storm (But For How Long?)
Nov16

CA’s Perfect Storm (But For How Long?)

LAS VEGAS:  This would appear to be the perfect time for CA Technologies, which has gathered its key customers and partners here for CA World ‘17. A growing data deluge, a sweeping digital transformation revolution, a heightening focus on security, and the exploding need for constantly evolving apps are all driving this perfect storm at which CA should be at the epicenter. However, neither a perfect storm, nor an epicenter can be weathered without severe risks, and based on the software giant’s most recent financial results CA’s success is still problematic. On October 25 the company reported FY18 Q2 revenue of $1.034 billion, and while that was up 2% year over year, net income was down 13% and bookings were down 1%. The outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year is approximately 5% increase in revenue to between $4.22-$4.25 billion, and a 5%-8% decrease in earnings per share. While painting an optimistic picture — highlighting the SaaS business growth, total new sales, Enterprise Solutions new sales, and Mainframe new sales “all outperformed the year-over-year decline in the renewal portfolio” — during the analysts’ call following the earnings report, CEO Mike Gregoire also noted “disappointing” sales execution in Q2. “In particular, velocity in sales outside of the renewal cycle of Enterprise Solutions products was short of our expectations.’ Overall, Gregoire said the company was well-positioned for the future. “We are well positioned in great markets, and our solutions are solving real problems for our customers.” CA sees itself as the toolmaker for the DT generation, pushing its modern software factory philosophy. Digital transformation should be an ISV’s dream market: spending on DT technologies will exceed more than $1.2 trillion this year, and continue to grow at almost 18% per year to $2 trillion by 2020, almost 20X the anemic growth forecast for the overall IT market. At last year’s event the company trotted out the its Built To Change paradigm, and reinforced it with the ‘Built to Change Summit’ in June. This week’s theme, No Barriers, is all about marrying CA’s own transformation experience with its products, services and expertise, to help its customers overcome the barriers embodied by DT, as Gregoire stated in his keynote yesterday. “The focus today is on innovating the next big shift for your company,” he said. “That is the number one priority we are focused on – providing you with solutions that will remove the barriers between your ideas and outcomes.” CA is helping a lot of companies to change, and Gregoire called out a few, including FedEx, Netflix and Citi, as well as telling the audience that they will be instrumental in...

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HPE: Smaller Is Better
Nov09

HPE: Smaller Is Better

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been pushing a smaller-is-better strategy for the last few years, spinning off PCs and printers, services and software, and now it looks like it’s applied that strategy to its mission-critical server line. Superdome Flex, the follow-up to Superdome X, the server family that started the company’s RISC-averse transition from Itanium to Xeon, opens up a $6-8 billion market that HPE wasn’t able to address effectively, HPE’s Randy Meyer, VP & GM, Mission Critical Systems, told IT Trends & Analysis. When it comes to the mission-critical x86 server market, driven by database, Oracle and SAP HANA applications moving from Unix to Linux, there were only a couple of choices, he said. While the up-to-16-socket Superdome X does the job well, the problem was at the bottom with 4-socket entry-level systems, especially for customers who knew they were going to eventually need more sockets. “In the Superdome X form factor, you paid a lot for the infrastructure.” With Flex, HPE went modular, making it much easier — and affordable — for customers to grow from 4 sockets all the way up to 32. “All of a sudden you have customers saying this is really cool.” Meyer believes this will open up a “huge chunk” of the market, and the ability to scale up and down will appeal to large customers, as well as the previously untapped midmarket. Following a couple of slow quarters, server revenues climbed 6.3% year over year to $15.7 billion in the second quarter of 2017, while midrange server revenue shot up 19.6% to $1.5 billion, and demand for high-end systems tumbled 18.9% to $1.3 billion, according to IDC. HPE held on to top spot (21.3% of the market), but revenues slid 8.4% YoY to $3.3 billion, while second-place Dell (17.7%) posted 7% YoY revenue growth. x86 server demand increased 10.4% to $14.3 billion, while non-x86 servers declined 21.5% to $1.5 billion. “Demand for two-socket form factors continues to control a majority of unit shipments now and going forward as they are the sweet spot for density-optimized servers which are used in datacenters,” said IDC’s Lloyd Cohen, director of Worldwide Market Analysis, Computing Platforms. Gartner’s server numbers were lower: 2.8% YoY revenue growth to $13.9 billion, and a 9.4% marketshare decline for HPE. RISC/Itanium Unix servers plummeted 21.4% in shipments and 24.9% in vendor revenue, which at least did better than the ‘other’ CPU category, which is primarily mainframes, down a whopping 29.5% in revenue (and that’s after an infrequent IBM z Series refresh). HPE reported significantly better results for high-performance computing. For its latest quarter the company said revenue from the HPC...

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