Re: Slump or a time of transition?
They may be, Vaughn. But they'll go through a slump here right soon as the legacy arrays struggle to catch attention, especially at the eye-watering prices they are charging. Heck, people are even willing to buy from you over at Pure at your prices rather than EMC, and they do it in a big way! And you guys charge $virgins!
But hyperconvergence is coming. It's driving down costs. Datacenter convergence is already emerging, driving down costs further. Software defined infrastructure plays are being researched and endgame machines are being assembled.
Worse, companies are managing to build just fine arrays on commodity hardware. Those afraid of the future and wishing to cling to arrays are increasingly able to find tried and tested arrays for a fraction the cost of EMC. That's bad for them.
That said, unlike NetApp, EMC seems to understand the above. Or, at least, some people at EMC understand the above and haven't been fired yet. The really ambitious, aggressive people that could see change was coming all left for Pure ages ago. The ambitious but not aggressive people that could see change was coming left EMC to form their own startups. And the ambitious but socially gregarious people that could see change was coming came from all over to join Solidfire.
That still leaves a huge collection of very technically talented, albeit not overly ambitious people at EMC that see change is occurring and have more than enough talent to drive innovation internally. Nobody at EMC seems to be interested in purging them, so EMC won't head down Netapp's path.
The $64B question is: will EMC tap those unambitious, but technically talented individuals who can see the changes required by soliciting their opinions and then listening to them? This is the "good management" question. The ambitious people all left. Ambition is required to raise one's head above the parapet and volunteer opinions.
EMC will, or it won't. If it doesn't, it will have to rely on acquisitions to see it through. Again: it isn't NetApp here. Sometimes the acquisitions go okay with EMC. Unfortunately, that's only "sometimes". And EMC probably doesn't have too many chances to play "marry the sweetheart" before its star starts permanently fading.
So who will be around to compete with it? Netapp? Pure? Solidfire? Tintri? Nutanix? SimpliVity? Coho?
There are dozens upon dozens of storage, CI, HCI, DCI and IEM companies out there now, beavering away in stealth or evolving organically from other concerns. There isn't room for them all.
It isn't just tech that will pick the winners. Good tech is part of the story. You need a company where the sales, marketing and evangelist roles are populated by people whom you don't want to blend and then pour into the sewer. You need prices that companies can afford. You need continual development to not only meet the challenges of this refresh, but the next and the next after that.
I, for one, am curious to see whom the people that actually matter - the customers - pick to survive.