About six months ago in this blog I accused IBM of “cloud-washing” its solutions and services when it launched its Project Blue Cloud marketing campaign. Its aim with this effort was to lure customer conversations about cloud computing in its direction so it could learn what enterprises wanted from this new technology. IBM has had some legitimate cloud deployments and proofs of concept since then, but just this week announced the first product fruits of that labor.
I read on a twitter post recently that according to some recent research by Gartner, server sales are down 24%. And today I saw an article based on some IDC research that in Australia they are down by 39%. In my humble opinion, this is good news for IT leaders in Asia Pacific.
So why is it good news that server sales are down? The way I see it, IT departments are still serving their clients, web sites are not crashing, applications are stable, and generally IT systems in the region are running pretty well. So it seems that IT departments are doing well without all the extra hardware expenses.
The economic downturn has been a good thing for IT leaders. They have been forced to look for new ways of doing things - they have challenged the accepted wisdom. And they have continued to deliver what the business requires and have not had to buy a new piece of equipment every time they want to implement a new capability within the business. IT departments are now being given the license they have been asking for to consolidate systems across business units, departments and/or applications. Virtualisation, SaaS, cloud computing, SOA and many other technologies or technology-assisted services have come to the fore to allow IT departments to continue to deliver on the their requirements.
EMC continues to tease the market with its management software ambitions, taking another step this week to build on its portfolio. On May 27, EMC announced its intent to acquire Configuresoft, a vendor of server configuration and change management (CCM) software. Forrester views this as a positive development for both companies but we eagerly await more.
Google is a remarkable company. Need proof? Just consider how reliant we are on Google Maps to find our way around the world. That didn't happen by accident. It happened because Google empowered a couple of brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen, to open up the developer APIs to the mapping engine.
These same two brothers announced yesterday at Google I/O developer conference a new technology for communication and collaboration. This new collaboration engine unites email, instant messaging, blogs, wikis into a single hosted conversation. Check out the demo here and the announcement here.
These conversations or "Waves" take place inside Safari, Firefox, or Chrome and look like email on steroids. (Lars said that they took the 40-year old model of email and redesigned it for today's Web-based world.) But it's way more than that. With Google Wave, Google has:
Opened a new path to reinvent how we collaborate. You have to see it to understand, but why would you need four products when one Wave will do? It's a new conversational metaphor that will also easily support document-based collaboration.
Put the code base into open source to attract investment. Google will attract the best and brightest developers and development with this move.
Despite the availability of multiple backup appliances supporting deduplication, Data Domain has continued to win customers at a steady pace. As of March 2009, the company had more than 2,900 customers and recruited hundreds of value added resellers. Its proven deduplication technology, integrated replication, and aggressive campaign to eliminate tape garnered it a tremendous amount of mind share and put it on most customers’ short lists. So it comes as no surprise that they were acquired by a major storage vendor.
That it was acquired by NetApp does come as a bit of surprise. NetApp does have its own successful VTL that supports deduplication. But then again, NetApp didn’t introduced deduplication in its VTL until the Fall of 2008 (the last of the major storage vendors to do so) and it typically sells its VTL into its own customer base. With Data Domain, NetApp now owns one of the toughest competitors in the backup appliance market and it gives the company a system that it (and the hundreds of NetApp channel partners around the globe) can sell into non-NetApp environments.
I just came back from an exciting week in Orlando, FL, shuttling between SAP SAPPHIRE and IBM Cognos Forum conferences. Thank you, my friends at SAP and IBM for putting the two conferences right next to each other (time- and location-wise), and for saving me an extra trip!
Both conferences showed new and exciting products and both vendors are making great progress towards my vision of “next generation BI”: automated, pervasive, unified and limitless. I track about 20 different trends under these four categories, but there’s a particular one that is especially catching my attention these days. It went largely under covers at both conferences, and I was struggling with how to verbalize it, until my good friend and peer, Mark Albala, of http://www.info-sight-partners.com, put it in excellent terms for me in an email earlier today: it’s all about “pre-discovery” vs. “post-discovery” of data.
Based on the recent wave of announcements flooding my inbox, BPM vendors are now stampeding to the cloud party. Over the last two months, I have received no less than 6 cloud-related announcements from various BPM vendors. So here's the running time line:
"Big Blue." That's the image of IBM I grew up with - bloated, rigid, complicated. Come on, you've heard the joke, "How many IBM engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb? More than you can afford!" And I've seen this first hand in the past with IBM Websphere Process Server (WPS).
In 2006, I supported a major enterprise BPM evaluation for a large federal agency. Several vendors were brought in, including Big Blue, to demo BPM functionality. I have to admit, the functionality and depth presented by IBM the federal customer - they literally shook their heads with disappointment. At that time, IBM was force fitting the WPS product to be a human-centric BPM platform. I described it as a "headless horseman" - nice integration functionality under the covers, but missing the required interface for users to interact with their tasks and workflow. The end result of the evaluation: IBM lived up to its Big Blue image and the agency decided that Big Blue was not the right platform for their fledgling BPM initiative (which would go on to become a multi-million dollar, multi-year BPM program).
In yesterday’s Forbes.com HP VP and CTO Russ Daniels wrote a short commentary on how cloud computing can help reignite the global economy and his focus is what makes the difference. Where Russ differs from many others on cloud computing in that he is talking about the vision from a higher, business level than most others, who are down in the IT weeds most of the time. Where Nick Carr talks about cloud computing sending corporate data centers to the trash heap, Russ is looking at what new business opportunities can be enabled by the cloud.