by Neil MacDonald | August 29, 2012 | Comments Off on What we Need is the Equivalent of Apple for Enterprise Data Centers
I’ve spent the last three days in Silicon Valley – some of it at VMworld and some of it with a client. With the flight out and back to the West Coast, I’ve had some time to do some thinking.
Cleary, there’s a perception that hardware is commoditizing and that there’s little or no premium left in hardware. It’s a commodity. It’s just a provider of x86 compute cycles (servers). It’s just a provider of packet pumping (networking). It’s just a provider of bit persistence (storage). No differentiation, swappable, commoditized.
For example, at VMworld, there was a big push on the “software defined data center” and the shift of value out of hardware (like network switches) and into software (ie software-defined networking) that further propagates the perception that hardware is a commodity.
But are servers, software and storage truly going the way of corn (undifferentiated and commoditized)?
I could say the same things about MP3 players. They are an undifferentiated commodity. Here’s 4GB unit with a color screen for less than US $25.
But that’s not exactly the case. Apple has shown that customers place a value on the seamless experience that is a synthesis of hardware, software and services. The pay a premium for hardware in the context of an overall solution that delivers a seamless experience. They value what this seamless experience enables them to do (and, likewise, what they don’t have to do, like the simplicity, automation and ease of purchasing music or backing up the device).
What we need is the equivalent of Apple for Enterprise Data Centers, enabling enterprise IT a low friction, seamless experience to enable the next generation of It-enabled business requirements – agile, responsive, rapid time to value and so on. Definitely NOT the state of most enterprise IT systems today.
Which vendor with the necessary hardware, software and services capabilities will step up to deliver this?
VMware? It focuses on the software and pretty much avoids services. Ditto for Microsoft.
IBM? HP? Dell? They have the pieces, but can they deliver the experience? The one that figures this out will quickly find that servers, storage, networking (and security for that matter) are NOT a commodity when consumed in the context of an overall seamless solution.
IT systems management and security are far too complex today. Give me a seamless experience and I’ll pay a premium for the solution – and for the hardware that enables it.
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