Heart of the (Dell-EMC) Matter

When news of Dell’s plans to acquire EMC became widespread, as a tech media, I appreciated the fact that I was at rival storage vendor Netapp’s Insight conference in Las Vegas.Just about a week later, I found myself at Dell World 2015 listening to the grand spiel on why EMC and Dell makes such a ‘beautiful’ combo; and shortly after that, was present at Oracle Open World 2015 for its Sunday keynote, and then VeeamON 2015, and then Hitachi Data Systems’ Summit in Shanghai.

Throughout the various international ICT vendor events, the one clear reiterated fact is that if the EMC-Dell acquisition goes through, not only will it be the biggest tech deal in terms of monetary value, but also quite possibly would cause the biggest direct and ‘overspill’ impact on the world of tech  in recent years.

In fact, a lot of chess pieces have moved since the announcement – for one, EMC and VMware (and Dell) have merged to form Virtustream; and most recently, Pivotal announced an IPO.

But all the financial mechanisms, workings and implications aside, the question that concerns tech media and analysts alike is what will happen to their tech and solutions portfolios?

Tech Matters

This is where the heart of the matter really is – Technology.

Technology which almost always takes secondary place in the commercial equation of mergers/acquisitions. At the heart of the matter, I think (one of) the biggest impact would come from VMware technologies, innovation, and research and development getting into the hands of Dell.

And we will see it in the number of deals that gets won by which players, in this very same tech ecosystem.

From the realm of R&D and engineering where the real work is being done, a technical engineer voiced out that the technical working relationship between Netapp and VMware has changed since the latter was acquired by rival EMC. He even opined that Nutanix, which has global deals with Dell on hyperconverged solutions, would be cast aside because of its competitive nature with VMware.

However, the business folks I have met at these recent conferences are contrary with the suggestion of this tech fall-out, saying with straight faces, “No such thing!’, ‘It is not VMware’s best interests to take sides’, ‘That would be just bad for business, no way!’

On the local front, a candid comment from HDS’ CMO, Azim Zaheer, “Organic engineering is not EMC’s strength. I’d love to see VMware sucked into the Dell-EMC vortex!”

It seems the fact that an on-going battle for tech supremacy in the area of virtualisation, cloud, hyperconverged infrastructures (more importantly, cloud management and orchestration), is conveniently forgotten in the face of commercial synergy.

Where does VMware stand?

HDS’ CTO of its Platform Division, John Mansfield had said, “Pat Gelsinger is probably the most powerful man in the whole equation right now.”

This is despite VMware’s opportunities in the server market is slowly drying up, and a competitive container technology is starting to come to the forefront.

At VeeamON 2015, it emerged that the CEO of this virtual backup and availability solutions provider, Ratmir Timashev is on the board of directors for 5 Nine Software – a virtualisation management company for Microsoft Hyper-V. In summary, Veeam Software which has a majority of its install base on VMware hypervisors is also betting on Microsoft’s version.

For how much longer can VMware remain relevant? How far would they go to maintain that relevancy and whatever advantage that they have left in the market with the spanner thrown in from the EMC-Dell deal?

Now that there is a new Virtustream cloud provider entity, which would have its revenue consolidated into VMware’s own results, isn’t there more of a pressure on its supposed ‘image’ to be independent, whether business- or technology-wise?

IT BYTES BACK! says: Technology should always remain the heart of the matter; cause by losing sight of it, all that the best tech sales folks from the best tech companies around the world would be selling, is VAPOUR…

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