I recently joined the Forrester Infrastructure and Operations team, and I'm excited to be working the team to further explore the changing world of storage. I know... many said "Storage? How boring." But in fact, there have been some very exciting changes in storage that have emerged as the result of many other transformations happening in the IT environment, that directly or indirectly impact storage. Some of the larger changes include:
Converged infrastructure: Emerging solutions that tie networking, storage and compute together have impacted the way storage further interacts and integrates with the other components of this stack. As Andre Kindness (@andrekindness) addresses in his doc here, the convergence occurring in the network are impacting the way storage considerations must be made and deployed going forward.
Cloud: Although much hyped, cloud computing is real and happening. There's no need to delve deeper for now, my colleague James Staten (@staten7) covers this topic extensively and can find his blog here. Many components of this model have evolved, yet cloud storage in its infancy. Use cases are still limited, as Andrew Reichman (@reichmanIT) points out in his August doc. However, I do see the market evolving quickly, as enterprises begin to get more comfortable and realistic about their expectations.
It’s no surprise that Dell is bidding on independent storage vendor Compellent as they are still licking their wounds from the loss of 3PAR in a head to head megavendor bidding war which ended with HP winning (?) at $2.4BB. Dell announced today that they have offered $27.50 per CML share, which equals around $876MM, and represents a discount of around 17% to the $33 CML was trading at when Dell first made the offer (increased significantly over the past couple of weeks by speculators anticipating such a deal). The discount is a surprise -- 3PAR and Isilon (bought by EMC for $2.2BB in mid November) had similar revenues, employee counts and customer counts, so I had thought that the $2BB mark was the going rate for established independent storage firms, but then, I’m not a financial analyst, so maybe I’m missing something there.
What I do know is that it is hard for Dell to say in September that they are willing to spend $2BB+ on a storage vendor, and then when they don’t win, to say that the EMC partnership and their EqualLogic products is all they need. EqualLogic has been a great product in the SMB end of the market and a big revenue generator, but hasn’t moved Dell into the realm of enterprise IT leadership that they so crave. The EMC deal has limited margin for Dell as a partner, and doesn’t establish them as a visionary provider with the chops to solve big enterprise problems. So, it’s no surprise that they felt they had to do something.