6 posts • joined 22 Aug 2012
One interesting question is whether the shift to channel sales will also impact customers' access to Dell's customized procurement portal (Premier). Many organizations have pre-configured, pre-discounted online ordering through Dell -- will that go away for customers moving to channel?
For that matter, if you move to channel, how much access to dell.com do you have? Can you still purchase/support through dell.com, or will you go through your channel partner?
Impressive product knowledge
""What do you think about when you hear the name HP? Is it printers? Laptops? Maybe it's Beat Audio? Most people do. It's understandable – these are our products people see every day," the ad stated."
The trademarked name is "Beats Audio" -- which they license, by the way. And it's not a product, it's a feature.
Quality control -- alive and well at HP.
The different between niche and mainstream
And another thought I should have included in my earlier comment.
Loads of commenters have weighed in, saying "so and so had this three years ago, company X implementation is better, what's the news here?"
No doubt the tech has been out there, as the article points out. That's not the news.
The news is simple: Over time, VMware will be making vSAN standard operating procedure for much of their install base. There's a BIG difference between niche vendor and mainstream vendor, third-party add-ons and vendor integrated technology.
Imagine a small vendor coming to you and saying "I have a widget that will make your car run faster, longer, for less money". Sounds good, right? But you look into their offering and observe that it has significant up front costs, and that if it didn't work, it would wreck your car. Plus you have no experience with their widgets, and no idea if they can service the widget well.
You'd be a little apprehensive? So would I.
Now imagine a major car manufacturer coming to you and saying "I have a widget that's built into your car, which will make your car run faster, longer. And oh by the way the widget will be covered under your car warranty. It might not be the perfect widget, but it's OUR widget -- and you've already bought into buying our car."
Assuming you like the car, odds are good you'll like the widget.
Assuming you've accepted the VMware value proposition, and VMware has become your trusted advisor, it will be super easy to buy into the vSAN proposition.
This is the same strategy Microsoft (and hundreds of others vendors) have pursued successfully for years. Let little guys establish the value of a new technology, then add it to your product, let your brand equity make it a credible solution, and rake in the Euros while niche tech becomes largely unnecessary.
If I was a niche SAN vendor who touts virtualization as their major use case, I'd be thinking about my positioning today. No doubt VMware vSAN isn't a threat for the moment -- but that's what Netscape devs said about IE 1.0...
Hollis blog highlights big shifts in thinking...
I was struck, upon reading Hollis' blog, just how disruptive this VSA can be. if you haven't, read the blog.
First off, it does away with the requirements for any kind of dedicated storage hardware AT ALL. No more Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, SMB, physical disk pools, array-based software, LUNs etc, you name it, that goes away because the VSA utilizes the drives on compute nodes (aka the same commodity servers that are running ESXi) and only handles VMDKs.
This is a really smart idea on at least four levels:
1) Simplicity: It sheds a lot of unneeded complexity and works with what's there. This happens in many areas, but to name a few, support for third party storage, management plug-ins, dedicated networks, etc etc. You can now manage your VMware resource pool across a single pool of hardware from a single console without worrying about full compatibility with VMware -- an especial concern for folks who have been stuck with legacy storage. It also works with existing storage -- so if the existing compute servers are SAN attached or DAS attached -- no problem, the VSA encompasses that.
2) Performance: Now that reviewers have proven that a single commodity 2 socket server can sustain 400K IOPS, it will seem pretty sensible to stop buying storage to drive performance. VMware's own proof shows a pool delivering more than 100K IOPS -- plenty for many use cases.
3) Risk mitigation: You can mix and match, provision and deprovision server hardware as you choose, without the complications of storage provisioning. Vendor lock-in at the hardware level is a thing of the past. It's darn easy and has little risk to swap out servers in a compute pool, much less easy and much higher risk to rip and replace your storage array.
4) TCO: It's licensed per-socket, just like VMware, so the hidden costs of capacity licensing go away, as does the complexity, as do the costs of array side tool licensing.
Sure, it's v1.0, it has limits and restrictions, it needs a lot of testing in the field to be fully inspiring. But guess what? I suspect VMware will be driving it because it's a better moustrap.
Evolve and extend versus transcend and transform
Despite being an IT marketer, I think you're quite right. Most organizations I talk to desire incremental improvements, extensions, and evolution rather than wholesale change.
Part of that comes down to risk.
Big transformation entails risky bets, both in terms of disruption, and in terms of allocating resources, especially if the technology is emerging or not a commodity.
No organization wants to go "all in" on a new technology, have it take up 40% of the annual budget, and then see it fail spectacularly, breaking things as it goes. There are enough horror stories of that sort to make the average sane CIO think twice about doing anything huge.
IT vendors do a poor job, in my opinion, in explaining how they control risk and minimize resource issues. They'd rather pretend all will go well, when in reality, sometimes it doesn't.
But to your point, they also do a poor job of understanding, to use an analogy, that most organizations don't want someone to build them a new house -- they simply want someone to fix the leaky toilet and install a new sink.
The slow death of consumer
Consumers aren't their priority -- organizations are. They are completely re-aiming their efforts toward supporting organizations.
Per their earnings report, they have gone from $3.3B in consumer revenue this time last year to $2.6B, while only making 0.5% net income overall off that business. They attribute that to two choices they have made (taken verbatim from their earnings report today)
"Non-participation in low value systems, which impacted revenue in growth markets." Let me translate: we opt not to sell systems at a loss, which is screwing up our ability to be relevant to consumers outside the U.S.
"Shift of spend to alternative mobile devices." We decided, after creating lackluster products like the Streak, that we don't want to compete in this space until we can do something special. But anything we do that's special will be aimed at organizational users, not consumers, because organizations accounted for, this past quarter, all but $14M of our net income.
Dell drove all the margin out of consumer notebooks in a race to the bottom -- and then backed away from the natural consequences. So if you're a consumer -- bad news for ye. If you're an organization, expect more choice from Dell -- because they can make money from your purchases.
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