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2011 – A Vendor Retrospective….

So, we’re winding down to Christmas and looking forward to spending time with our families, so I guess it’s time for me to do a couple of Christmas blog entries. It’s been a funny year really, a lot has happened in the world of technology but nothing really has changed in my opinion; there’s certainly some interesting tremors and fore-shadowing though.

HP started the year in a mess and finish the year in a mess; they got themselves into a bigger mess in the middle of the year but appear to have pulled themselves from the brink of the abyss. I can still hear the pebbles bouncing of the walls of the abyss as HP scramble but I think they’ll be okay. 3Par is going to turn into a huge win for them.

EMC started the year with a Big Bang of nothing announcements and some fairly childish marketing but their ‘Big Data’ meme appears to be building up a head of steam. Isilon appears to be doing great for them and although EMC still don’t appear to understand some of the verticals that they play in now, they seem to understand that they don’t and are generally letting the Isilon guys get on with it. Yes, they’ve lost a few people but that’s always the case. Their JV with Cisco; I hear mixed reviews, I think that they are doing well in the Service Provider space but less well in the other verticals; still, they are certainly marketing well to partner organisations.

HDS still struggle around message but they seem to be getting a better selling stuff and are going aggressively after business. Much of this seems to be by ‘ripping the arse’ out of prices but a newly hungry and aggressive HDS is not such a bad thing. I still think that they are not quite sure how to sell outside of their comfort zone but some of the arrogance has gone.

IBM; Incoherent Basic Marketing. There’s a huge opportunity for IBM and yet they seem to be confused. They do have a vision and they do have technology but they do seem to struggle with the bit in the middle.  And they never seem to finish a product; so much feels half-done.

NetApp bought Engenio; a great buy but have they confused themselves? Revenues appear to be plateauing and from my anecdotal evidence, adoption of OnTap 8 is slow. I think in hindsight that some within NetApp may agree that OnTap 8 shipped too early and it was a ‘release anything’ type move; OnTap 8.1 is really OnTap 8.

Oracle ‘bought’ Pillar and still have no storage story. Larry should bite the bullet and buy NetApp; much as that might upset some of  my friends at NetApp.

I started the year with great hopes for Dell and I finish the year with some great hopes for Dell but they need to move fast with a sober HP on the horizon. HP could shut them out.

Elsewhere in the industry, pure-play SSD start-ups seem to be hot and there’s a lot of new players in that space. There’s going to be more in that space as people start to treat SSDs as a new class of storage as opposed to simply faster spinning rust. I do worry at the focus on VMware by some of these start-ups and their exposure to VMware doing something which impacts the start-up’s model and technology. Design with virtualisation in mind but ensure that you are agile enough to dodge the slings and arrows of misfortune.

One thing which has saddened me over the past eighteen months is the fall off in blog entries by some of the more notable bloggers. I know you are busy guys but is an entry every other week or so too much to ask? I miss reading some of you!! Hey, I even miss some of the heated spats in the comments.



  1. Chad Sakac says:

    I can’t help but wonder if I’m one of those “decline in blog posts” people 🙂

    Will ramp back up – ‘Bod, you CANNOT imagine how all-consuming the annual planning stuff becomes this time of year….

  2. Martin Glassborow says:

    Hey Chad,

    having a team which has doubled in size in twelve months and is on the critical path for almost every major development in our platform in the next eighteen months in a programme which has been described as ‘rolling thunder’ internally…and that’s only half my job. I think I can imagine..

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