Fun Alert: Insane 2011 Predictions That May Come True

Google Acquires Level 3 Communications

Really?  Forget net-neutrality, think fiber and capacity management.  Google gains a worldwide network and a host of services and options to redefine the Internet.  Google’s itching for another industry to transform, and the service provider market is ripe for the picking.  By streamlining processes, costs, and creating a true cloud, Google can change the game while laying the foundation for some incredible mobile products and services.

Apple Acquires Sony Corporation

Why?  How about content, home entertainment, consumer electronics, and more.  Imagine Sony TV’s pre-loaded with Apple TV or PS3 with an ‘Apple-like’ interface.  Apple would gain content via Sony Pictures, cameras, a massive distribution channel, and control of standards, patents, and more.  In the end, Apple would restore Sony to their former glory while drastically expanding their breadth and depth of products.

Cisco Acquires SAVVIS

Huh?  As Cisco is dead serious about the cloud and Infrastructure as a service, purchasing SAVVIS would give Cisco a ‘enterprise-class converged cloud solution.’  Plus, SAVVIS is a huge Cisco customer and early adopter, so Cisco wouldn’t’ need to swap out hardware as UCS is already in-play here.  Cisco gains data center expertise, IAAS, SAAS, Hosting, Content Management, and more while moving ever closer to end-customer and consumer.

Dell Acquires Brocade

Are you kidding me?  Dell needs an Ethernet and storage networking presence and they need it right now.  By purchasing Brocade and integrating their product sets, Dell can finally go toe-to-toe with HP and IBM.  Additionally, Foundry products finally get the sales and distribution channel they need to compete with Cisco, HP, and Juniper.  Dell would streamline manufacturing, sales, marketing, and more to create a viable alternative to HP’s growing ProCurve business.

Baidu Buys Yahoo

Never!  Baidu (the student) comes into the US Market flush with cash to buy Yahoo (the teacher).  Baidu would gain a US presence while putting their thumb in Google’s eye.  Yahoo gets an injection of cash and swagger, as they focus on platform services and open source projects.  Meanwhile, Microsoft quietly wins here as they continue to work with Yahoo/Baidu and expand their Chinese presence.

Huawei Buys Juniper

Come on?  Shunned by Dell, Juniper has little options as IBM refuses to enter the networking hardware business.  Huawei desperately wants to enter the North American Market, and Juniper’s name and mix of service provider and enterprise customers are just the ticket.  Huawei would quickly ramp up Juniper’s product line while introducing new lines of business including wireless carrier infrastructure, storage networking, and more.

Oracle Buys NetApp

Finally something we can agree on!  While Oracle/Sun have some amazing storage products, NetApp gives Oracle legitimate world-class storage solutions.  Oracle could leverage NetApp within their next generation ‘Exa’ products while refining how Oracle products perform on NetApp storage.  Meanwhile, Oracle/NetApp will make billions from FlexPods while moving closer to Cisco.

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Quick Alert: EMC Scores With Greenplum; Can Cisco UCS Be Far Behind?

EMC is acquiring privately held Greenplum for an undisclosed sum.  Greenplum is a next generation warehousing database that offers massively parallel processing (MPP) and Scatter/Gather Streaming to provide analytics for private and public clouds.  Greenplum is an x86 based software solution that is challenging the likes of Oracle, Netezza, and Teradata. 

Interestingly enough, Oracle is an investor of Greenplum via their acquisition of Sun.  However, Oracle’s Exadata solution that is built on Sun hardware made Greenplum an expendable investment.  Meanwhile, EMC saw the opportunity to gain a foothold into this growing billion dollar market while continuing to fuel their storage business; huge databases equal huge storage requirements.

In the end, EMC has acquired a solid company that has held their own against their larger rivals.  With EMC’s ability to execute with a tenacious sales force, market presence, and stable financials coupled with new investments in the technology, Greenplum is sure to flourish.  Additionally, could a Cisco UCS appliance be far behind?

Think about it, traditionally data warehouses sit in their own silo within the data center.  One may argue this is because of the proprietary nature of these important systems, but this is slowly changing.   In Greenplum’s case they support Linux and Sun Solaris running on hardware from Dell, HP, Sun, and IBM.  Imagine EMC, in conjunction with VMware, fine tuning Greenplum’s software to work within Cisco’s UCS.  Instantly, you have a next generation data warehouse within a next generation data center architecture that gains all the benefits from Cisco’s UCS.

2010: The War of IT has Begun; Cisco delivers blow to HP

In school, we are taught important dates or periods within history.  I’ll never forget a history professor asking, “who fired the first shot?” in the American Revolution or detailing the sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans.   Within the history of high technology, yesterday’s announcement by Keith Goodwin, Vice President Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Organization, is such a date.  With one statement, Cisco changed the IT landscape as they ended a lucrative and important relationship with HP by failing to renew HP’s System Integrator Contract that strips HP of being a Cisco Certified Partner and Reseller.

Effectively, HP is now on the outside looking-in at Cisco’s Empire.  HP loses access to Cisco’s proprietary information including product roadmaps and reseller initiatives.  Additionally, Cisco no longer offers HP “protection” as they begin to untangle their complicated business relationships including software and hardware sales.  While HP may believe they are prepared for this action, competing against Cisco head-to-head is very different from maintaining a competition/cooperation arrangement; yet HP is very different from past competitors.

With HP’s size and market power, are we poised to answer the question, “What would happen if an unstoppable force strikes an immoveable object?”  HP has amassed a powerful software and hardware portfolio via acquisition and partnerships.  Also, HP has something Cisco needs, a large, growing, and competent services division (EDS).

Of course, Cisco counter’s EDS with their relationship with IBM but how long will that last?  After-all, IBM is in a similar position as HP with one intriguing difference; IBM is not a network equipment manufacturer (yet).  Can Chambers convince Palmisano to maintain the status quo?  Or do they look beyond partnerships to acquire Juniper, Brocade, or perhaps ZTE to fill their product holes.  Would Palmisano stand for Cisco acquiring a services company?  Or, would that be the final straw that opens a new flank in the war against Cisco.  What would happen if Cisco purchased Liquid Computing or the new SGI?

Finally, let’s not forget Larry Ellison and Michael Dell.  Oracle didn’t just spend billions of dollars on SUN to sit on the sidelines.  Oracle now sports an impressive list of hardware and software assets especially in the realms of file systems and virtualization.  Meanwhile, Dell has opened up their pocketbook and has entered into the services business while radically expanding their relationship with Juniper.

Look for three things to happen:

  1. Heightened M&A Activity (large and small)
  2. Heightened Partnership Activity and Alliances
  3. The rise of an unexpected and/or new competitor

We are watching history in the making as its; Chambers vs. Hurd vs. Palmisano vs. Ellison vs. Dell vs. Klayko vs. Jonhson vs. ?

2010: The War of IT

MySQL AB: You made your bed now lie in it with Oracle.

It is very frustrating to watch Oracle’s acquisition of SUN make its way through regulatory approval as a small band of MySQL users are attempting to use the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” principal to disrupt the process.  This has led to over 14,000 MySQL users signing a petition to the EU opposing Oracle’s acquisition of SUN.

The ring leader of this effort is none other than the founder and creator of MySQL, Michael “Monty” Widenius.  Monty, and others, are deathly afraid that Oracle will effectively do one or more of the following; freeze development/bug fixes, change the current MySQL licensing, attempt to migrate MySQL customers to Oracle’s proprietary database, or ignore the community wishes and limit developers ability to improve MySQL’s capabilities that would lead to more direct competition with Oracle’s proprietary database.

As with any acquisition, the employees or in this case the community have legitimate reasons for concern.  Oracle is a development/engineering/marketing/sales machine that dominates the database industry.  Additionally, until Oracle closes this acquisition they have and will remain relatively quiet or ambiguous about SUN‘s (MySQL) future. 

Some users point to Oracle’s acquisition of Innobase as the primary reason for concern of MySQL’s future.   However, this acquisition took place in 2005 and was Oracle’s “warning shot” to MySQL.  Why?  Innobase was the creator of InnoDB that provides the underlying code for the InnoDB storage engine in MySQL.  In 2005, Oracle and many ISVs were unsure of the competitive threats derived from open source software products such as MySQL.  Leave it to Larry Ellison to find a way to defend his turf while sending a definitive message to the open source community.  Today, ISVs like Oracle have come-to-terms with open source software and strive to be active in both the proprietary and open source domains.

In the end, it’s hard to feel sorry for Monty and the other Executives of MySQL AB.  Lost in all these discussions and protests is the fact that MySQL AB sold out to SUN for a cool $1 Billion. MySQL had a choice; sell out or continue as an independent company.   MySQL AB could have raised capital, purchased Innobase, and continued building a world-class open source database.  Instead, altruistic intentions gave way to dollar bills.

The saga of MySQL serves as a reminder to all Open Source Software Projects and Communities that there is no free lunch; ultimately the software code and rights are owned by an individual or an entity.  The decisions made by these individuals or entities effect community members, contributors, and users on many levels; emotionally, financially, etc.  Today, I worry about many Open Source Projects that reside within SUN and other groups. 

MySQL AB made their bed, now lie in it with Oracle.

2009: We Fooled You

As 2009 comes to a close, below is my very incomplete list of top “we fooled you” moments of 2009.

  • Cloud Computing trumps everything
  • Virtualization renders the OS irrelevant
  • Google “does no evil”
  • Cisco can’t grow or compete
  • Outsourcing isn’t forever
  • Chrome is better than Firefox or IE
  • Storm / Android beats the iPhone
  • Bobby (Foundry) would never sell
  • Huawei will falter
  • HP can’t catch IBM
  • IBM wouldn’t get back into networking equipment
  • Sun is dead
  • Open Source Software kills ISVs
  • Open Source Hardware dominates storage
  • Free Software – LOL
  • PBT vs. MPLS
  • Nortel would be saved
  • Web vs. traditional advertising
  • Juniper would never enter switching
  • Oracle is just a database company
  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Dell doesn’t care about services
  • IPOs are dead
  • Facebook is a fad
  • LTE is years away
  • Cisco UCS crushes HP, IBM, Dell, and more.
  • Business Intelligence wars would end
  • IPv6 – enough said
  • All start-ups need traditional VCs
  • Internet / IP Security is solid
  • Google Apps ends the need for Microsoft Office
  • Yahoo is dead
  • Linux Desktop vs. Apple and Microsoft

2009 was both an exciting and frustrating year for technology.  The battle lines are drawn for 2010 and I’m looking forward to a great and surprising year.

Happy New Year!

Cisco Lays Their Trap

I must admit that I had a good chuckle when I read the reports of Cisco’s financial analyst conference on Tuesday.  After all these years at the helm, it’s amazing to watch Chambers discuss subjects ranging from Flip to Cisco’s projected long-term growth rate.  However, it is clear to me that Chambers’ relishes dominating the next chapter in communications.

Cisco understands that fighting a two flank war against powerful advisories like HP and IBM is fraught with danger, could lead to slower adoption of their vision, and may yield lower than projected growth rates.  So what’s a company to do?  Divide and Conquer.  How?  You lay the trap.  HP had their chance and chose to go in a different direction; lost cause.  IBM had their chance and turned Cisco down but maybe they should reconsider; Venus Flytrap,

Lost Cause:  HP is determined and ready to take on Cisco head-to-head.  They have spent billions of dollars creating a software and services powerhouse while quietly making inroads within enterprise networking.  Additionally, HP has consumer brand recognition and acceptance which Cisco craves.  Finally, HP has Michael Hurd; a driven CEO who is ready and willing to lead this industry.  There is little Cisco can do here to sway HP’s momentum and vision.  Therefore, the best Cisco can hope for is to continue collecting purchase orders from the HP channel.

Venus Flytrap:  IBM has almost everything they need to take on Cisco but they have taken a more cautious approach than HP.  After-all, IBM has dominant research and development capabilities and are the fathers of autonomic computing.  IBM has always concentrated on high margin / high value products while tying everything together with their vaunted services division.  Perhaps IBM is in a quandary; while services, storage, virtualization, software, servers, mainframes, etc yield high margins, enterprise networking computing has become commoditized while datacenter networking equipment remains a question mark.  Cisco aims to help IBM with their quandary by offering a truce of sorts; work with us and we won’t go into storage or services! 

If you believe that, then I have some Ocean Front Property in Arizona to sell you.  Cisco has already chosen sides on the storage and virtualization fronts by aligning themselves with EMC and VMware.  A combination of Cisco and EMC would give them a foothold within those areas as well as security and management software; all of which would threaten IBM. 

Also, Chambers claims Cisco won’t be going the route of HP’s acquisition of EDS to buy their way into services.  In the short term this is a great strategy, in the long term they are going to buy someone like CSC, ACS, Unisys, or even McKesson (I’ll leave that to a future post).  Again, Cisco offered IBM an olive-branch of sorts in exchange for a tighter partnership that Cisco craved in beginning.

The million dollar question is; what will IBM do?  Does IBM continue to throw jabs at Cisco through their partnerships while Cisco throws power punches?  Does IBM acquire Juniper or Brocade to battle Cisco and HP?  Or, does IBM take a wait-and-see approach?

Personally, I’d like to know what the heck is going on at Dell and Oracle.  I’ll give Oracle a bit of a break as they battle the EU for control of Sun but Dell has got to wake up and fast.  They have a chance to crash this party by innovating and commoditizing the industry faster than everyone else can recoup their costs.  This sounds like when Michael Dell revolutionized the PC industry by introducing direct purchasing and just-in-time assembling. 

For now, Cisco has laid the trap and they await the fruits of their labor.  Once again, Chambers continues to impress as this is better than any reality TV series; brilliant.

VMware and SpringSource; Getting Warmer

VMware announced the acquisition of SpringSource for a total of around $420 million. SpringSource provides a opensource Java development platform but they also own Hyperic an opensource management platform; a fact that is being virtually ignored by the mainstream media.

While SpringSource’s Java development platform is “interesting”, nobody gets rich selling or supporting a development environment. However, what’s more interesting is SpringSource’s vision of Building, Managing, and Running applications; one of the driving forces behind their purchase of Hyperic.

Take this vision and expand it into VMware. SpringSource will build the applications, vShere will run the applications, and a combination of Hyperic and VMware will manage the applications. Sadly, Hyperic will not solve all of VMware’s management problems, but it’s a move in the right direction.

There are two fundamental risks with this strategy; VMware’s continued reliance on Java (Oracle) for Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS) and VMware’s commitment to opensource. While Java is a wonderful platform, there are questions regarding its future as well as new and more modern platforms that are challenging its dominance.

While VMware claims to maintain a long history of support for opensource, its more of a self-serving position. With this acquisition, VMware has not only acquired a company but a community of users and developers. With a strong opensource challenge from Oracle/SUN, VMware would smart to harness this community asset rather than turn them into a newfound liability.

Aside from the fact that VMware may have overpaid for SprngSource (especially in this economy), SpringSource/VMware makes sense for both companies. VMware is getting a little warmer on their quest to becoming a datacenter powerhouse.

One word of caution: all companies, VMware, Oracle, Sun, Citrix, IBM, BMC, HP, CA, and more are vulnerable until a new paradigm of management is brought forward. Management cannot continue to be an afterthought and a “central brain” is needed to make cloud computing a reality.

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