ChalkTalk Video: [SDS] has to do More

The first phase of software defined storage (SDS) is bringing many benefits to the data center. Its abstraction of storage software from the storage hardware enables organizations to manage all their storage assets from a single view, along with a reduction of hardware acquisition cost. But SDS needs to do more. In its next phase SDS should also provide rich end-to-end, cross system analytics, and it should automate data placement decisions. Join George Crump, Founder of Storage Switzerland and Tim Sheets, VP of Marketing at FalconStor in this ChalkTalk video to learn what more SDS can and should be doing. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Storage Switzerland Weekly Newsletter. Share this:TweetMoreEmailPrintShare on...

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IBM and the Value of Self-Disruption

Silicon Valley loves disruption, at least some of the time. That’s one reason venture capitalists and other speculative investors push the valuation of ostensibly nimble “unicorn” start-ups into nosebleed territory. But when it comes to well-established mainstream companies, disruption is seldom considered a virtue or blessing. And when established companies proactively choose to follow a disruptive path rather than being pushed onto one by other forces, many investors swoon with what might be politely called an attack of conventional wisdom-induced vapors. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. Share this:TweetMoreEmailPrintShare on...

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Intel Announces New Restructuring Initiative

Silicon Valley has been so successful in cultivating a mystique around technology that it’s easy to forget that most vendors are in the manufacturing business. That is, they make stuff, mostly by assembling commercial off the shelf (COTS) components, such as microprocessors, memory, motherboards and displays made by yet other manufacturers. As a result, the hardware portion of the IT industry is sensitive to the same yield/volume/margin pressures that impact other manufacturers. If acceptable quality (yield) products can’t be made in workable numbers (volume) and sold profitably (margin), the larger structure wobbles. If that situation persists or worsens, the vendor risks injury or even collapse. Though this dynamic is common across the IT industry, its effects are anything but equal. Consumer-centric products tend to be less stable since sales depend on often unpredictable customer preferences. But that’s balanced out by such products being generally cheaper and easier to build. In contrast, making business-focused products is typically more complex and demanding but is also considerably more profitable. So it’s quite common for large scale component manufacturers to develop product lines that span a range of consumer and business applications. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. Share this:TweetMoreEmailPrintShare on...

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EMC: This Is Not The End!
Apr27

EMC: This Is Not The End!

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill Next week the world’s largest storage vendor will hold the last EMC World Conference as a separate entity. It remains to be seen if the company, which will shortly be joined with Dell, will flourish under its new owners (i.e. 83% of mergers have been unsuccessful in producing any business benefit as regards shareholder value), but succeed or fail, the mega-merger, now valued at $60 billion, $7 billion less than it originally was worth, will shake up the IT industry, and the conference will presumably provide more information about how the pending deal, which is expected to close no later than October, is progressing. The top two enterprise vendors — IBM (worst revenue in 14 years) and HP (split into enterprise and commodity businesses) — have been struggling to redefine themselves through a strategy of addition through substraction, dumping technologies and business units. Dell has chosen to expand its portfolio, and while it too is shedding assets, it will reinforce its position as the only soup-to-nuts IT vendor once the EMC acquisition closes. With both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union regulators reportedly on board, the two biggest remaining hurdles are the financing and EMC shareholder approval. Shareholders are expected to approve the sale in June, and financing — $50 billion of the $60 billion purchase price — is expected to be finalized shortly afterwards. While still a work in progress, details about the proposed management setup post-merger have been released. In an internal memo from EMC Chairman, President & CEO Joe Tucci, it was announced that: Jeremy Burton, who is now president of products and marketing for EMC, will be chief marketing officer; -Jeff Clarke, currently vice chairman of operations and president of Dell, will retain those titles; -Howard Elias and Rory Read will share the chief integration officer duties; -David Goulden, CEO of the EMC Information Infrastructure group, will be president of merged company’s enterprise systems group, responsible for servers, storage, networking, and converged infrastructure; -Rodney Rogers, CEO of the Virtustream cloud unit, will report to Goulden, as will Amit Yoran, president of RSA, and Rohit Ghai, president of the Enterprise Content Division; -John Swainson, president of Dell Software; Tom Sweet, Dell’s chief financial officer; and Suresh Vaswani president of Dell Services, all will continue in their current roles; and, -Michael Dell, who will be the merged company’s CEO, will appoint an executive committee comprising the presidents of all the aforementioned business units, along with VMware executive Pat...

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Predicting the Outcome of the Dell/EMC Merger

One of the things analysts are asked to do is predict outcomes. We don’t have a crystal ball, so we typically work off of history. If there is a noticeable trend, we draw a straight line, assuming that trend will continue. If there is a history of a certain behavior, we will likely assume this history will continue unless there is some reasonable and verifiable change. In the case of large corporate mergers, most fail. Since the largest to date, the HP/Compaq deal, was nearly a train wreck, you can understand why many of my peers have concluded that the even larger Dell/EMC merger will end badly. However, what they are missing is that both Dell and EMC are very different from other technology companies. Plus, unlike HP/Compaq, the two firms aren’t both in trouble. Both HP and Compaq were in the early stages of emergency turn-arounds when they decided to merge. Thus you can’t use the history of mergers in general or HP/Compaq in particular as indicators of this merger’s potential for success. You have to look at Dell’s history and EMC’s history, instead. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. Share this:TweetMoreEmailPrintShare on...

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Hortonworks and the Age of Data

Evolution and growth are common in organizations of every sort but especially those in the IT industry. That’s partly due to the nature of technology itself, which tends to get cheaper and easier to produce over time, but competitive issues also come into play. Once a company can make a living, it attracts others who want a piece of that same pie. The process is often like dealing with ants at a picnic, though at other times it’s more akin to a visit from a hungry biker gang. In any case, sitting still and exuding a Zen-like calm isn’t an option unless you prefer a life of poverty. But how do you get to that new place? The path forward is most often linear, with vendors expanding their well-known strengths into new areas and capabilities. Think of VMware leveraging its hypervisor skills from workstations to servers to other associated data center technologies. But it can also involve leaps forward for both the vendor and the industry, like enterprise storage leader EMC’s acquisition of VMware or PC-pioneer Dell’s decision to become an end-to-end systems vendor. In every instance, it is critical for a vendor to believably communicate the reasons behind its proactive evolution, the assets, skills and strengths it brings to the journey and the likelihood of arriving at its final destination. Otherwise it risks alienating customers, partners and allies and inspiring them to walk away. Last week Hortonworks hosted its first annual analyst day in San Francisco that addressed these and other issues. Let’s consider what the company had to say and how well it succeeded in describing its plans and ongoing evolution. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. Share this:TweetMoreEmailPrintShare on...

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