Amongst the storage cognoscenti today on Twitter, there’s been quite a discussion about EMC and HP possibly merging. Most people seem to be either negative or at best disbelieving that something like this would bring value or even happen.
But from a technology point of view, the whole thing might make a lot of sense. The storage folks like to point at overlap in the portfolios but I am not convinced that this really matters and the overlap might not be as great as people think. Or at least, the overlap might well finally kill off the weaker products; I’ll let the reader decide those products that deserve to die.
EMC are on a massive push to commoditise and move their technology onto a standard platform; software variants of all their storage platforms exist and just need infrastructure to run on. I’ve mentioned before that HP’s SL4500 range is an ideal platform for many of EMC’s software defined products.
But storage aside; the EMC Federation has a lot of value for HP, it is early days for Pivotal but I suspect Meg can see a lot of potential in it. She’ll see a bit of the eBay in it; she’ll get the value of some of the stuff that they are trying to do. They are still very much a start-up, a well-funded start-up tho’.
VMware, I would expect to continue as it is; it might throw up some questions about EVO-RAIL and HP have pointedly not produced an EVO-RAIL certified stack; despite being invited to. But to fold VMware into the main HP would be rash and would upset too many other vendors. But hey, with IBM pulling out of x86 servers and honestly, who cares about Oracle’s x86 servers; HP might have a decent run at dominating the server marketplace before Lenovo takes a massive bite out of it.
And customers? I’m not sure that they’d be too uncomfortable with a HP/EMC merger; mergers are almost certainly on the agenda and there are less attractive ones on the table.
HP need software to help them build their software-defined data-centre; Openstack will only take them so far today. EMC need a commodity partner to help them build a hardware platform that would be trusted. An HP/EMC stack would be solid and traditional but with potential to grow into the 3rd platform supporting infrastructure as customers move that way.
And they both need a way of fending off Amazon and Google; this might be the way for them to do it.
I know I’ve been talking about this more like a HP take-over of EMC and it’d be closer to a true merger; this makes it harder…true mergers always are but culturally, the companies are less dissimilar than most realise. They both need more rapid cultural change…perhaps a merger might force that on them.
Will it happen, I don’t know…would it be a disaster if it did? I don’t think so. It’d also be good for the industry; lots of hacked-off smart people would leave the new behemoth and build new companies or join some of the pretenders.
A shake up is needed…this might do it. Will the market like it? I’m not especially bothered…I don’t hold shares in either company. I just think it might make more sense than people realise.