Announcing the Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Software Suites, Q1 2016

Lauren Nelson

Anyone familiar to Forrester knows the Wave drill: 1) we take the top vendors in a space, 2) do a massive data collection process, 3) evaluate each, and 4) share our findings. We've been evaluating this market since Q2 2011. For our 2016 evaluation, we used 40-criteria to evaluate the following vendors -- BMC, Cisco, Citrix, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware.

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Refinance And Refocus: Verizon, CenturyLink and Windstream Enter 2016 With Leaner Strategies

Sophia Vargas

While mergers and acquisitions have proliferated in the colocation industry - each positioned to increase geographic coverage or higher order capabilities – in the last 6 months, a new trend has emerged: strategic divestitures, most prominently observed in the telecommunications space. Following the complete cycle, in 2010 and 2011, Centurylink, Verizon and Windstream made strategic acquisitions to increase their data center services portfolios, acquiring Savvis, Terremark and Hosting Solutions respectively. 5 years later, each firm has announced its intent to sell of some or all of these assets. 

So, what went wrong?

While telcos had arguably given birth to colocation, the fact remains that network and carrier providers have had troubling competing against pure play colocation and data center service providers like Equinix and Digital Realty. In the past, telecom providers described colocation and data center services as a way to enrich existing customer contracts. In an interesting twist, these new intended divestitures have been presented as a way to refinance core assets, focus on what drives their business, and move away from standardized services with high overhead and lower margins.  While vendors may keep their skeletons in the closet, I had some speculation as to what might be fueling these decisions:

-          Buyers want carrier density and diversity.  Even though all of these facilities support multiple connections into other carriers, customers tend to evaluate facilities by connectivity options instead of looking for carriers to provide data center capacity on top of network services. Additionally, many geographically dispersed companies are considering blended IP solutions to improve latency and performance across the globe.

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Is Security FUD delaying your Public Cloud Adoption?

Robert Stroud

Public Cloud continues to emerge 

Whether it’s the growth of service providers transitioning to offer services, the emergence of Containers within Hyperconverged solutions, or the potential emergence of Google succeeding, the public cloud is set for a year of “hyper-growth”!  That said we have to sort through the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), especially in security, to determine the appropriateness of public cloud for your organization.

 

Is the low hanging cloud fruit eaten?

The rush to cloud to date has clearly been within “systems of innovation,” applications geared mostly to customer engagement (so-called “systems of engagement”).  Enterprises leveraging public cloud are looking to get new innovative applications and services rapidly to market. These applications have been primarily driving customer acquisition and then fostering customer loyalty. These initiatives represent just the tip of the iceberg, the real opportunity is in moving “systems of record”, or everyday work to the public cloud.

One example is GE which is in the process of moving 9,000 apps to the public cloud.  As stated in the GE plan, the criteria is to select target applications based on the understanding of the risk associated.  This posture allows GE to develop their cloud skills based on their learning with “low risk” applications.

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Why 2016 Will Be The Year Of Digital Signage And Displays

JP Gownder

I've just published a major new report, The Digital Signage And Display Opportunity in 2016. I'll also be holding a webinar on this topic on Tuesday, January 26th, 1-2pm ET USA; it's entitled Screening the World: How Digital Signage, Displays, and Magic Mirrors Drive Business Value. Please register for my webinar here.

Since Forrester was founded in 1983, we've never had a coverage area on digital signage  ̶  until now. Why? In the age of the customer, digital signage and related display technologies are growing rapidly, because:

  • It's now a dynamic, disruptive, interesting technology. Once just a simple, unidirectional, broadcasting mechanism, digital signage now offers an array of new technology features like interactivity, facial recognition, and magic mirrors, and others that can drive valuable business scenarios across any vertical. Digital signage also interacts increasingly with mobility, as more installations allow customers to take what they see on the sign with them on their own smartphones.

  • Regulatory and business requirements drive adoption. The FDA ruled that all QSRs must provide nutritional information on all food and beverages by December 1, 2016. Digital signage solution providers report QSRs as one of the fastest-growing segments of the digital signage market as a result of this ruling to help package nutritional information with dynamic menus. 

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Driving Systems of Records to the Cloud, your focus for 2016!

Robert Stroud

Success in the Cloud is now a fact

You have all heard the success stories of Uber and Airbnb as they leverage technology to disrupt existing business norms in the taxi and hotel businesses. Digital business successes such as these are pressuring traditional enterprises to focus on differentiation in business models, customer intimacy and velocity as they look to not only preserve market share, but – more importantly – to grow it!  This is what Forrester calls the business technology (BT) agenda – technology investments that help your business win, serve, and retain customers.

Additionally, as an I&O professional you cannot ignore the investments, and success, with public cloud. For instance, public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services drive and deliver systems of innovation to create velocity both in new business ventures and traditional enterprises, especially in fueling mobility and web services.  The investments to date are supporting the ability of the Public Cloud to support and drive innovation. Additionally, these solutions now raise the possibility of the cloud’s suitability for the next phase, transition of systems of record.  This is one of the predictions in our Forrester “Predictions 2016: The Cloud Accelerates” which articulates 11 key developments for Cloud and what I&O professionals should do about them.

 

The “low hanging fruit” is gone – now it’s time to reach higher

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HPE Transforms Infrastructure Management with Synergy Composable Infrastructure Announcement

Richard Fichera

Background

I’ve written and commented in the past about the inevitability of a new class of infrastructure called “composable”, i.e. integrated server, storage and network infrastructure that allowed its users to “compose”, that is to say configure, a physical server out of a collection of pooled server nodes, storage devices and shared network connections.[i]

The early exemplars of this class were pioneering efforts from Egenera and  blade systems from Cisco, HP, IBM and others, which allowed some level of abstraction (a necessary precursor to composablity) of server UIDs including network addresses and storage bindings, and introduced the notion of templates for server configuration. More recently the Dell FX and the Cisco UCS M-Series servers introduced the notion of composing of servers from pools of resources within the bounds of a single chassis.[ii] While innovative, they were early efforts, and lacked a number of software and hardware features that were required for deployment against a wide spectrum of enterprise workloads.

What’s New?

This morning, HPE put a major marker down in the realm of composable infrastructure with the announcement of Synergy, its new composable infrastructure system. HPE Synergy represents a major step-function in capabilities for core enterprise infrastructure as it delivers cloud-like semantics to core physical infrastructure. Among its key capabilities:

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Will the answer to public cloud be Google?

Robert Stroud

 

Amazon Web Services is rapidly growing

Since I joined Forrester 2 months ago, we have seen multiple announcements from public cloud providers. Amazon Web Services (AWS) numbers are now available. As reported by The Motley Fool, “at the RE:Invent  conference a company representative disclosed “AWS is now on pace for a run rate of $7.3 billion -- up 81% year over year”. Current market leader AWS, followed by Microsoft Azure and IBM, have confirmed that cloud for many enterprises is not only an option; it is the default for new initiatives for many enterprises. A “cloud first” policy is now commonplace in many enterprises.

 

Public Cloud adoption is the norm

The adoption of public cloud for production workloads continues to grow. Plenty of evidence exists to support this trend, including Forrester’s Business Technographics® data. A poll of attendees on day 2 at the recent ISACA EuroCACS conference in Copenhagen identified that almost 36% of respondents are using public cloud for production workloads.

 

ISACA EuroCACS Polling Question

Are you using public cloud for production workload?

Respondents

%

Yes

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Oracle Delivers “Software on Silicon” – Doubles Down on Optimizing its Own Software with Latest Hardware

Richard Fichera

What’s new?

Looking at Oracle’s latest iteration of its SPARC processor technology, the new M7 CPU, it is at first blush an excellent implementation of SPARC, with 32 cores with 8 threads each implemented in an aggressive 20 nm process and promising a well-deserved performance bump for legacy SPARC/Solaris users. But the impact of the M7 goes beyond simple comparisons to previous generations of SPARC and competing products such as Intel’s Xeon E7 and IBM POWER 8. The M7 is Oracle’s first tangible delivery of its “Software on Silicon” promise, with significant acceleration of key software operations enabled in the M7 hardware.[i]

Oracle took aim at selected performance bottlenecks and security exposures, some specific to Oracle software, and some generic in nature but of great importance. Among the major enhancements in the M7 are:[ii]

  • Cryptography – While many CPUs now include some form of acceleration for cryptography, Oracle claims the M7 includes a wider variety and deeper support, resulting in almost indistinguishable performance across a range of benchmarks with SSL and other cryptographic protocols enabled. Oracle claims that the M7 is the first CPU architecture that does not present users with the choice of secure or fast, but allows both simultaneously.
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The Broken Promise of IoT -- And What To Do About It

JP Gownder

My colleague Michele Pelino and I have just published a major new report, Bridge The Broken Internet Of Things Promise. At its best, the Internet of Things (IoT) -- a catch-all term for technologies that enable objects and infrastructure to interact with monitoring, analytics, and control systems over Internet-style networks -- has the potential to reshape customer experiences. 

In the report, we cover the example of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, undoubtedly one of the more impressive examples of how IoT and wearables can redefine digital customer experience (DCX) while also employing digital operational excellence (DOX) in service of customers. In one of several DCX examples, Royal Caribbean has made the Quantum a wallet-free zone using wearable bands that act as everything from the key to your quarters to purchases at the bar. For DOX, the Quantum solves a perpetual pain point for both customers and crew: Did a particular piece of luggage make it onboard and, if so, where is it? RFID tagging and a mobile app solve this operational problem nicely. (See Figure for a screen shot of the mobile app).

As we detail in the report, RFID tracking has revolutionzed the check-in process, improving the speed of the process, lowering errors, and giving customers peace-of-mind.

So IoT sounds like a panacea for retailers, hospitality firms, travel vendors, and similar firms -- right?

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Sea Changes in the Industry – A New HP and a New Dell Face Off

Richard Fichera

The acquisition of EMC by Dell has is generating an immense amount of hype and prose, much of it looking forward at how the merged entity will try and compete in cloud, integrate and rationalize its new product line, and how Dell will pay for it (see Forrester report “Quick Take: Dell Buys EMC, Creating a New Legacy Vendor”). Interestingly not a lot has been written about the changes in the fundamental competitive faceoff between Dell and HP, both newly transformed by divestiture and by acquisition.

Yesterday the competition was straightforward and relatively easy to characterize. HP is the dominant enterprise server vendor, Dell a strong challenger, both with PCs and both with some storage IP that was good but in no sense dominant. Both have competent data center practices and embryonic cloud strategies which were still works in process. Post transformation we have a totally different picture with two very transformed companies:

  • A slimmer HP. HP is smaller (although $50B is not in any sense a small company), and bereft of its historical profit engine, the margins on its printer supplies. Free to focus on its core mandate of enterprise systems, software and services, HP Enterprise is positioning itself as a giant startup, focused and agile. Color me slightly skeptical but willing to believe that it can’t be any less agile than its precursor at twice the size. Certainly along with the margin contribution they lose the option to fight about budget allocations between enterprise and print/PC priorities.
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