Archive for category Competition
Flash competitors are aggressively jockeying for position as the market heats up. It’s a tale of two styles. On the one hand, EMC’s entrance into the all-flash array market targets traditional IT segments. It will both pressure competitive offerings and its own high-end block storage business. EMC is positioning to cannibalize its own base before others cut too deep into the EMC muscle; but it must walk a fine line. At the other end of the spectrum, Fusion-io is uniquely positioned to serve the hyperscale market and currently stands alone with a software-led strategy that leverages atomic writes and delivers new value to database workloads.
Amazon’s aggressive push into the traditional enterprise space will place pressure on CIOs and enterprise IT suppliers alike. To release this pressure, CIOs must treat AWS as another tool in their bag, embrace the public cloud generally and help their organizations understand the right strategic fit for public cloud services; balancing convenience with compliance. Meanwhile, technology suppliers must differentiate by focusing on best-of-breed services, industry-specific capabilities and delivering business value deep within regions around the globe.
Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a report citing sources that claim Amazon’s AWS business exceeded $2B in 2012 and will generate $3.8B in 2013, an 81% growth rate. The numbers are getting crazy. Some of these same and other sources have the AWS market (unclear what this means) hitting $38B by 2015 and AWS revenue reaching $20B by the end of the decade. The Journal article cited comments from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claiming that AWS can be at least as large as the company’s retail business. By comparison, Amazon’s retail operation is expected to grow 25% this year to $73.6B.
The storage world is getting ready for the launch of EMC’s Project Lightning. EMC has invited press, analysts and the world to an announcement on February 6th to see the unveiling of the server-based flash product and strategy to manage data using EMC automated tiering software.
EMC’s strategy with Project Lightning is to extend the storage stack closer to the server. For the past two decades, we’ve seen storage function steadily move from server/host to storage/SAN. EMC started this trend with its Symmetrix disk array, which initially connected to virtually all types of OSes and host processors. That vision extended to the SAN and the external RAID, storage network concept became the standard architecture for storing, protecting and sharing mission critical data.
I’m in San Francisco prepping for the Cube’s second annual broadcast at Oracle OpenWorld. While the world is kind of dissing Ellison’s Sunday keynote, it’s important to remember that Larry usually saves his best for the mid-week slam of the competition. If you can put up with the mega (or should I say Exa-) marketing pitch it’s worth listening to his comments. And we’ll be analyzing it all week. Ellison is not the pitchman that Steve Jobs is but he’s pretty passionate about his products and will stop at no length to de-position the competition and place Oracle at the top of the food chain.
Traditionally, compute, storage and networking capacity have been purchased as separate resources, with largely independent management structures. Indeed, in most organizations for example, the networking and storage teams have different reporting lines and are measured on achieving different goals. Again, by way of example, networking architectures are highly flexible and designed to accommodate new users quickly. Networking professionals often need to reconfigure the network to support new business growth. Storage on the other hand, particularly block-based SAN storage is a different animal. Usually once the SAN is hardened, storage admins don’t like to mess with the infrastructure and make changes to the system unless absolutely necessary. SAN managers are intensely focused on data reliability and integrity whereas in networking, if data is dropped it can be re-submitted without any major disruption to the business.
EMC is a thirty year old company that essentially created the storage systems business as we know it today. The company began with humble roots selling memory for minicomputers. Through many failures, perseverance, vision and a take-no-prisoners culture, the company evolved into a storage industry powerhouse in the 1990′s with its Symmetrix high end disk array, unseating IBM as the dominant industry player. Interestingly, the first Symmetrix had 24GB of disk capacity, less than the flash storage of many smartphones today. Throughout the 2000′s, the company leveraged its early successes and via a series of acquisitions, re-invented itself, diversifying its product portfolio and focusing much more on software revenues. Incredibly, by virtue of its acquisition of VMware (completed in 2004) EMC is today positioned amongst the industry’s power players including IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco in defining the future of enterprise IT. While much smaller than these firms from a market valuation standpoint, EMC is growing faster than the industry’s largest firms and is positioned to be the next big player in enterprise IT.
Cloud Convergence 2011: HP and QLogic Looking Strong – IBM, Oracle, Brocade and Emulex are Challenged
Virtualization and cloud computing are changing the velocity, agility and economics of the data center. However virtualization, combined with the explosion of data is placing unprecedented demands on I/O bandwidth and creating constraints for users. Despite conventional wisdom, converging storage, network and server infrastructure will not lead to IT budget cuts. Rather it will enable a new class of computing that would be unaffordable without converged technologies.
Whether you call it cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud, converged infrastructure is becoming a fundamental underpinning of IT-as-a-Service. Without convergence, this new class of computing would not be possible because it would be too complex and too expensive.
Each year, Oracle takes over San Francisco for a week and showcases its enormity to the world. At 40,000+ attendees, this year’s OpenWorld is bigger than ever and includes the JavaOne developer conference. Indeed, Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems last year has transformed OpenWorld, while completely altered the landscape of the IT industry. Oracle is messaging that customers should expect integrated hardware and software that are “Engineered to Work Together.”
Inside the Cube during VMworld 2010, I asked Tom Georgens two questions: 1) Is the VMware deck stacked in EMC’s favor and 2) How does NetApp remain relevant to VMware and to customers?
Georgens boiled it down with a simple model:
*VMware increases server utilization
*NetApp increases storage utilization
*Together in the field, the duo created customer solutions that were compelling
Georgens contends that even in the downturn, when companies had little money, they turned to VMware and NetApp for solutions. NetApp’s two-year growth rate lends merit to Georgen’s assertion.