Is Dell Right? Was The MacBook Air Stupid?

Steve Jobs was a natural manipulator, so much so that folks often referred to him as having his own Reality Distortion Field. This allowed him to say often even contradict himself and get away with it. For instance he once said that video on an iPod was stupid and that no one would ever adapt a tablet because it lacked a keyboard (there is a list of his 6 most impressive false statements here). One effort that really screwed up the PC market for a while was his forced march to the ultimate thin Notebook Computer the MacBook Air. It was a lust worthy device, but the tradeoffs were painful, so much so that Lenovo made fun of it in this video. Why The MacBook Air Sort Of Sucked Now I’m sure a lot of folks legitimately liked the MacBook Air, but I’ve known several that quickly learned they couldn’t live with it. It was simply the wrong product for them and yet they were convinced by some impressive marketing that it was a “Magical” product only to find it was instead a bad buy. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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New Dell PCs – Predictable Evolution and…

The concept of “law” means different things to different people. For some, laws are rules defining conventional/unconventional behavior. For others, they are immutable strictures or even barriers begging to be tested. But I’d argue that the most important (and, ironically, the least discussed) aspect of law is its predictability. That is, laws clearly delineate expectable outcomes with certain events or behaviors. You “can’t drive ‘55”? Don’t be surprised by a traffic ticket and hefty fine when you’re caught. Feel like scamming strangers, neighbors or family members? Maybe a change of scenery for the next 5-10 years would do you good. Rush hour traffic frustrations might make road rage seem reasonable. But in real life with the cops on hand? Not so much. Which brings me to Moore’s Law—the best remembered contribution Intel co-founder Dr. Gordon Moore made to his company and industry. As with more prosaic laws, some in IT considered Moore’s observation to be somehow immutable even though he himself, along with Arthur Rock, understood that economic reality would eventually overtake and erode its value. But the larger benefits of Moore’s Law were found in the predictable insights it provided semiconductor partners and resellers, as well as potential buyers. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new PC or system, how do today’s products match what you can reasonably expect in 12 to 18 months? Do you really need latest/greatest features and performance? Are those qualities needed by a select few or are they important to mainstream users, too? Those points are reflected in Dell’s latest PCs based on Intel’s latest 8th generation “Coffee Lake-H” Core processors. Interestingly, the new solutions’ benefits are designed to touch a wide range of mobile PC customers, including consumers, business people and gamers. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Dell Technologies Surveys the Digital 2030 Future

As it has for past future-focused studies, Dell teamed up with the well-respected Institute for the Future (IFTF) to forecast how emerging technologies — notably artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) — may change the way we live and work by 2030. To extend that work, Dell Technologies commissioned Vanson Bourne, an independent UK research firm, to conduct a survey-based research study to gauge business leader predictions and preparedness for the future. The Realizing 2030 survey was quite large and wide in scope and reach, extending to 17 countries in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Japan, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Secondly, more than 10 industries including financial services, private healthcare and manufacturing were covered. Finally, the survey had 3800 complete responses from director and c-suite executives in midsized and enterprise organizations involved in key functions, including finance, sales and R&D in addition to IT. That is an impressive number of respondents and thus should be considered statistically reliable across a number of dimensions. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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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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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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