This past week, EMC had a record-breaking event in NYC, where they announced a number of new products and features. The announcements focused mainly around VNX and VNXe, as well as Symmetrix. However, the company also went into detail as to how some of the newer acquisitions would fit into their overall portfolio. The company’s plans for Isilon (acquisition discussed by @reichmanIT here: http://bit.ly/bNrVKz) was perhaps more interesting. This was one of EMC’s best acquisitions, as it gave it the capabilities needed for scale-out NAS. In conjunction with the rest of its portfolio, EMC is positioned to capture new markets not traditionally recognized in, provided the portfolio is integrated seamlessly. It also points to many changes we see occurring in the data center today.
NetApp recently announced that it was acquiring Akorri, a small but highly regarded provider of management solutions for virtualized storage environments. All in all, this is yet another sign of the increasingly strategic importance of virtualized infrastructure and the need for existing players, regardless of how strong their positions are in their respective silos, to acquire additional tools and capabilities for management of an extended virtualized environment.
NetApp, while one of the strongest suppliers in the storage industry, not only faces continued pressure from not only EMC, which owns VMware and has been on a management software acquisition binge for years, but also renewed pressure from IBM and HP, who are increasingly tying their captive storage offerings into their own integrated virtualized infrastructure offerings. This tighter coupling of proprietary technology, while not explicitly disenfranchising external storage vendors, will still tighten the screws slightly and reduce the number of opportunities for NetApp to partner with them. Even Dell, long regarded as the laggard in high-end enterprise presence, has been ramping up its investment management and ability to deliver integrated infrastructure, including both the purchase of storage technology and a very clear signal with its run at 3Par and recent investments in companies such as Scalent (see my previous blog on Dell as an enterprise player and my colleague Andrew Reichman’s discussion of the 3Par acquisition) that it wants to go even further as a supplier of integrated infrastructure.