Understanding The Significance Of Dell’s Acquisition Of EMC And The Emergence Of Dell Technologies

Dell and EMC intend to finalize the transaction whereby Dell acquires EMC on September 7, 2016. Under the terms of the acquisition, Dell and its owners Michael Dell, MSD Partners and Silver Lake, will acquire EMC Corporation. Meanwhile, EMC spin-off VMware will continue as a publicly traded company. The announcement to finalize Dell’s acquisition of EMC comes head on the heels of the receipt of regulatory approval for the transaction by China’s Ministry of Commerce after 98% of EMC shareholders approved the transaction on July 19. As a result of the merger of the two companies, EMC shareholders stand to receive $24.05 per share in addition to a tracking stock that represents their equity in VMware.  The newly created company, Dell Technologies, will operate immediately after the transaction is finalized. Dell’s acquisition of EMC signals the emergence of the “largest privately-controlled, integrated technology company” as noted in a press release. The confluence of Dell’s expertise in hardware and technology solutions for small businesses to mid-size organizations with EMC’s experience with enterprise customers, cloud computing solutions and security solutions means that Dell Technologies stands poised to benefit from the complementary synergies specific to the union of the two companies. The union of Dell and EMC promises to offer customers of Dell Technologies a rich portfolio of private cloud and big data solutions that draws upon an EMC corporate umbrella that includes Pivotal, Virtustream and VMware.

Expect the convergence of Dell’s experience with hardware and its relationship to small to mid-market companies, in conjunction with EMC’s storage, networking, cloud computing, big data and security solutions to enable Dell Technologies to offer enterprise-grade private cloud solutions geared toward the needs of small to mid-tier organizations as well as enterprises. Given EMC’s ownership of Pivotal and its concomitant specialties in big data analytics and the internet of things, the Dell-EMC merger has the potential to reshape the cloud computing landscape by giving Dell Technologies leadership in the hybrid cloud space while claiming Pivotal’s specialties in big data analytics and RSA’s suite of security solutions as further, notable feathers in its cap. Overall, the landscape for hybrid cloud computing stands to gain another significant player that has the means to tap into Dell’s relationships with small to mid-size companies that are increasingly ramping up their transition to the hybrid cloud. Moreover, with Pivotal under its wing, Dell Technologies promises to democratize big data and internet of things analytics by spearheading big adoption and developing progressively turnkey approaches to big data analysis. The implications of the Dell-EMC merger for the cloud computing landscape are huge, particularly in light of Rackspace’s recent acquisition by Apollo Global Management and the subsequent opportunity created in the private cloud market while Apollo Global Management and Rackspace recalibrate their long-term strategy.

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Kaseya Announces Release Of Kaseya Traverse 9.3, Machine Learning-based IT Management Platform For Hybrid Cloud Infrastructures

On May 9, Kaseya announced the release of Kaseya Traverse 9.3, an IT management platform for service providers that supports the management of hybrid cloud infrastructures. Kaseya’s proprietary machine learning and predictive analytics technology enables customers to identify the root cause of performance issues within their infrastructure. The Kaseya platform proactively identifies causes of performance degradation by means of analytics on infrastructure and application performance. The machine learning-based qualities of Kaseya’s infrastructure allows the platform to recognize the specificity of each customer’s infrastructure and iteratively refine analytics on anomalous or aberrant behavior that can embrace the heterogeneity of IT infrastructures and their corresponding implementations. Mike Puglia, chief product officer of Kaseya, remarked on the value of Kaseya Traverse with respect to hybrid cloud deployments as follows:

In today’s complex hybrid cloud environments, MSPs, SMBs and large enterprises alike require a solution such as Traverse to help them reduce downtime for their IT services. The days of monitoring servers and routers in an isolated silo are gone. Businesses today require tools such as Traverse that offer real-time tracking and correlation of the business impact these devices have on overall IT services.

Here, Puglia comments on how Kaseya delivers a holistic approach to cloud monitoring that dispenses with siloed methods of understanding the performance of servers and routers as illustrated by the graphic below:

image001 (2)

The screenshot above gives  customers visibility into network traffic within a hybrid cloud infrastructure across multiple environments and infrastructure components. Kaseya Traverse 9.3 supports more than 40 new devices and continues to enhance its monitoring and analytic capabilities for Managed Service Providers and small to midsize businesses. The platform currently supports the Amazon Web Services public cloud in addition to other vendors such as Nimble Storage and Dell Compellent. As the space dedicated to cloud-based monitoring solutions continues to evolve, Kaseya Traverse 9.3 will need to continue sharpening its product differentiation in order to effectively complete against a proliferation of vendors that offer IT management solutions for hybrid cloud infrastructures. In the here and now, however, the platform’s impressive machine learning capabilities enable it to scalably embrace the radical heterogeneity of contemporary IT infrastructures in ways that swiftly support root cause analytics and the proactive resolution of IT performance issues.

Guest Blog Post: “Hybrid Integration for Today’s Digitally Driven Businesses” By Ashwin Viswanath, Director of Cloud Product Marketing, Talend

The following guest blog post was authored by Ashwin Viswanath, Director of Cloud Product Marketing, Talend

While moving to the cloud is becoming a common business decision, many organizations are still trying to figure out the best path to meet their business needs and IT infrastructure goals. The subsequent discussions often result in a hybrid approach where organizations tap the value of both public and private clouds for different services.

Hybrid integration, as it has evolved over the years, plays a very positive role in the creation of a variety of complex value-chain ecosystems supporting numerous digital business initiatives.

The definition of hybrid integration, reflecting the changing nature of these initiatives, has evolved as well. It ranges from: supporting SaaS apps to B2B data sources from partners and suppliers presented as a mashup in a portal; to integrating big data and backend systems to support mobile applications.  As these and other initiatives continue to proliferate, the definition of hybrid integration will continue to morph as well.

 Time for an Upgrade

The rapid evolution of existing initiatives, and an accelerated pace in the creation of new use cases is a clear indication that it’s time to upgrade your hybrid integration capabilities.

For example, imagine that you work in a line-of-business (LOB) that is highly data-driven such as a Customer Success Department.  Access to up-to-the minute information about your customers is critical to your operation. You no longer can wait for the traditional 24-hour IT cycle to obtain operational reports that tell you if your customers need help, details their latest purchases, and tells you which customers are critical to contact.

These days if customers are having bad experiences with your product or service, they will take advantage of other options and churn almost immediately. This is particularly true in today’s subscription-based online environments, which allow a customer to turn off the service and go elsewhere with a few keystrokes.  You need to be able to predict if and when such an event may occur so that you can take corrective action before the customer says “I’ve had enough.”

As a member of our hypothetical Customer Success Department, you also need tools that can analyze a number of different data points gathered from customer support tickets that indicate how often they responded to marketing offers. You even want to read the tweets they have posted about you and your company or be notified immediately if a steady, big ticket customer drops off your radar.

It’s readily apparent that collecting data from all these different data sources, aggregating that data, and deploying the correct filtered business rules and triggers to alert the Customer Success management team represents a lot of work for IT. And the Customer Success Department is only one use case – there are many others such as marketing, finance, and the supply chain – all can benefit from being notified when pre-determined business parameters are not being met. This alert has to be issued before a critical threshold has been reached so the LOB can take corrective action in a timely and decisive manner.

To deploy these hybrid integration services in a world that has become increasingly data-driven and characterized by a 24/7 competitive environment will probably require an upgrade of your data integration service, including all layers of the cloud stack. This kind of intensive rework extends beyond the infrastructure and platform layers, or a few tweaks to your software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.

To achieve the kind of insights described in the Customer Success Department applications described above requires a solid cloud-based infrastructure built to support your most demanding Big Data needs. This includes the ability to handle great quantities of streaming data.

The data technologies you select – whether they are NoSQL databases, or some other major real-time big data protocol, must be specifically tailored to work with the large volumes of real time streaming data that are required in today’s competitive environment. This includes a secure cloud-based integration platform that allows your users to connect their applications with one another and transfer data between them. Browser-based graphic development tools are complemented by ready-made integration actions, flow templates, components and connectors that make data integration easy.

Five Phases of Hybrid Integration

In this two-part blog series (part I, part II), I outlined the five phases of hybrid integration, which allow you to easily assess for yourself, which phase of hybrid integration you’re in and how you can move to a more advanced phase. The phase descriptions follow a trajectory – from older, more mature phases to more recent (and potentially disruptive) scenarios. In brief, the five phases are:

  • Phase 1: Replicating SaaS apps to on-premise databases – Companies in this initial stage either need business critical information from their SaaS apps; or they are sending SaaS data to a staging database so that it can be picked up by other on-premises apps
  • Phase 2: Integrating SaaS Apps directly with on-premises apps – Each LOB has their preferred SaaS app. Sales departments use Salesforce, Marketing has Marketo, HR prefers Workday and Finance has NetSuite. These SaaS apps need to connect to a back-office ERP on-premises system such as SAP R/3 or Oracle EBS.  Implementing a pure-play cloud ERP platform is still very much a work in progress, as the blog explains.
  • Phase 3: Hybrid Data Warehousing with the Cloud – As the volume and variety of data grows, you need a strategy to move your data from an on-premises data warehouse to newer, more advanced Big Data resources in the cloud. Choosing the right Big Data protocols and getting underway by at least creating a data lake in the cloud with cloud-based services such as AWS S3 or Azure Blobs, is part of this phase.
  • Phase 4: Real-time analytics on streaming data – It is during this phase that you implement systems that can provide you with the tools to work with real-time streaming data. To realize the full benefit of real-time analytics you need the support of a hybrid integration infrastructure. This infrastructure will vary depending on your use case – for example, supporting software that analyzes weblogs, clickstream data, sensor data, database logs, or social media sentiment.
  • Phase 5: Machine learning for optimized app experience – In the not too distant future, every experience will be delivered as an app through mobile device – that includes enterprise as well as consumer mobile apps. The hybrid integration infrastructure will be architected to provide the ability to discover patterns buried deep within the data using machine learning so the applications can be more responsive to user needs. Advanced algorithms will allow value to be extracted from immense and disparate data sources that go beyond the capabilities of human analysis. For developers, machine learning will apply business-critical analytics to applications to do everything from improving customer experience or providing product recommendations to presenting hyper-personalized content.

Eventually, if current trends continue, everything will move into the cloud, supporting increasing opportunities for converging applications and data integration and redefining yet again what is meant by hybrid integration.

The importance of this transformation was underscored by a recent IDC report. DC expects that cloud IT infrastructure spending will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1 percent and will reach $53.1 billion by 2019 accounting for 46% of the total spending on enterprise IT infrastructure. At the same time, spending on non-cloud IT infrastructure will decline at -1.7 percent CAGR. Spending on public cloud IT infrastructure will grow at a higher rate than spending on private cloud IT infrastructure – at 16.3 percent vs. 13.2 percent CAGR. In 2019, IDC expects service providers will spend $33.6 billion on IT infrastructure for delivering public cloud services, while spending on private cloud IT infrastructure will reach $19.4 billion[1].

Benefits of Hybrid Integration

With advanced hybrid integration in place and cloud integration tools at hand, companies are able to carry out “do it yourself” data integration projects. There is no need for users to constantly go back to the IT department to modify business rules and parameters. They have a turnkey solution that allows them to quickly and easily deal with changing business requirements.  And the end user is far more familiar with those business requirements and knows which technical parameters need to be changed to provide the answers they are looking for.

In addition, these new integration workflows developed by the user community can be leveraged by other business units as well.  This creates an exponential expansion of contextual information between LOBs. IT is freed up to build platforms for future innovation by researching Big Data algorithms and leveraging the cloud infrastructure to maximize these new algorithms, rather than constantly putting patches on old information workflows.

In short, hybrid integration in the cloud offers enormous advantages for companies seeking the best of private and public clouds for scalability, price, control and flexibility.

[1] Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker,” IDC, October 2015.  

Microsoft Selects Red Hat As Preferred Vendor For Enterprise Linux Workloads On Microsoft Azure

Microsoft and Red Hat have reached a monumental agreement that enables hybrid cloud users to more easily deploy Red Hat solutions on the Microsoft Azure cloud.  As a result of the collaboration, Microsoft has designated Red Hat Enterprise Linux the preferred vendor for Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure. Enterprise customers who want to use RHEL on Azure can now do so with the blessing of Microsoft’s support for RHEL on the Azure platform. In other words, customers can now deploy RHEL on Azure in ways analogous to the deployment of RHEL on Amazon Web Services. To enable this partnership, Red Hat will designate Microsoft Azure one of Red Hat’s Certified Cloud and Service Providers in upcoming weeks and meanwhile, Microsoft Azure customers can leverage Red Hat’s application platform such as Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Gluster and Red Hat’s Platform as a Service, OpenShift.

The collaboration between Microsoft and Red Hat further includes enterprise-grade support for hybrid cloud environments marked by the participation of support personnel from both vendors to ensure that customers obtain the support they need. The partnership also features unified workload management within hybrid cloud infrastructures enabled by the integration of Red Hat CloudForms and Microsoft Azure and the ability of System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manage RHEL on Microsoft Azure. Moreover, the collaboration includes the ability to use .NET on Red Hat products and solutions in ways that expand the ability of developers to write .NET applications on Linux applications. Whereas previously developers often had to re-write .NET applications to use them on Linux, they can now use RHEL as the principal development platform for Linux.

All told, the agreement between Microsoft and Red Hat continues to illustrate Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s commitment to partnering with vendors in contrast to Microsoft’s historical stance of failing to integrate with vendors and potential competitors. More importantly, the announcement illustrates Microsoft’s commitment to supporting hybrid cloud environments and its willingness to support RHEL on Azure, not only at a technological level but also at the level of integrated enterprise-grade support. All this illustrates how Microsoft is putting its eggs in the cloud basket as it attempts to consolidate its relationships with enterprises and reputation for delivering enterprise-grade products and services in anticipation of an intensification of the battle for cloud market share with Amazon Web Services. Microsoft’s strategy of focusing on rendering hybrid cloud deployments using Azure more flexible goes right to the heart of CIO considerations regarding enterprise IT cloud adoption and stands to position Azure strongly, particularly given the prevalence of RHEL within the enterprise. Expect Microsoft to continue deepening its partnership and cloud-related acquisitions as it puts the cloud first and stakes out its contention as the world’s premier cloud provider for the enterprise.

VMware Releases Bevy Of Enhancements To Its Public Cloud Platform, vCloud Air To Bolster Its Hybrid Cloud Solution

On August 31, VMware announced the release of enhancements for the company’s public cloud platform in the form of VMware vCloud Air, VMware vCloud Air Object Storage and VMware vCloud Air SQL. VMware vCloud Air represents the public cloud component of VMware’s unified hybrid cloud platform. Recently enhanced VMware vCloud Air components include VMware vCloud Air Object storage, a portfolio of storage solutions for unstructured powered either by Google Cloud Platform’s Google Cloud Storage infrastructure, or by EMC’s EMC ViPR solution. Meanwhile, VMware vCloud Air SQL represents a database as a service SQL platform that delivers a cloud-based platform for the storage of relational databases. VMware vCloud Air also now features a suite of disaster recovery services that leverage cloud services to ensure uptime and availability of on premise and cloud-based deployments by means of a cloud-based management console for orchestration. Taken together, the storage, database and disaster recovery upgrades to the VMware vCloud Air public cloud constitute a notable enhancement to VMware’s overall unified hybrid cloud platform, which prides itself on the ability to deliver cloud services for any application and any device. Given the stark reality that enterprises using cloud services are almost invariably leveraging some kind of hybrid cloud environment, the enhancements to VMware vCloud Air position VMware to more effectively complement its dominance within on-premise data center infrastructures and deliver a stronger case for its unified hybrid cloud solution.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry Extends Its Reach With Support For Amazon Web Services

Today, Pivotal announces that Pivotal Web Services will render Pivotal Cloud Foundry available in conjunction with Amazon Web Services as its hosted infrastructure. By making Pivotal Cloud Foundry available via a virtual appliance that supports its deployment on Amazon Web Services, Pivotal extends its support for IaaS platforms that currently include VMware vSphere, VMware vCloud Air and OpenStack. As a result of its support of Amazon Web Services, Pivotal embraces the creation of hybrid cloud infrastructures for Cloud Foundry that feature a combination of VMware or OpenStack-based on premise environments as well as Amazon’s famed public cloud infrastructure. In addition to its availability via one-click integration with Amazon Web Services, Pivotal Cloud Foundry is available as an Amazon Machine Image in the AWS Marketplace. The screenshot below illustrates Pivotal Cloud Foundry’s integration with Amazon Web Services alongside a bevy of other integrations and tools for managing a Pivotal Cloud Foundry deployment:

Pivotal Cloud Foundry Ops Manager with AWS Tile

Now generally available, Pivotal Web Services with Enterprise support manages an AWS instance on behalf of the customer, thereby absolving customers of the challenge of managing the AWS environment as it scales and morphs in relation to the demands of application and data ingestion.

James Watters, Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Platform Group at Pivotal, remarked on the significance of today’s announcement as follows:

With the latest Pivotal Cloud Foundry release, Pivotal becomes the first major middleware vendor to include managed public cloud capacity in a software subscription at no additional cost. By offering hosted public cloud along with dedicated self-install on either public or private clouds, Pivotal Cloud Foundry provides the instant-on affordable capacity Line of Business (LOB) executives need with the robust security and automation features IT can also bring to private clouds. With today’s release, LOB and IT can finally agree on a single platform.

Here, Watters notes how Pivotal includes support for Amazon Web Services in a Cloud Foundry subscription at no additional cost. Moreover, by supporting a private cloud, Watters remarks on how Pivotal delivers enhanced operational agility to Line of Business teams that may have an interest in leveraging a public cloud for development purposes in advance of the decision to transport their applications back to the on premise environments specific to their organization. All told, Pivotal’s support of Amazon Web Services for its Cloud Foundry distribution aptly exemplifies the quintessence of Pivotal’s mission of enhancing enterprise agile application development by means of cutting edge technologies at the nexus of cloud computing and application development. In addition, Pivotal’s support of AWS for Pivotal Cloud Foundry dramatically enhances the potential for Cloud Foundry-based application portability and moves the needle of cloud native application development toward enhanced interoperability and the adoption of open standards for contemporary computing.

HP Acquires Eucalyptus And Names Marten Mickos Leader Of Its Cloud Business

HP announced plans to acquire Eucalyptus, the company whose open source private cloud software interoperates with Amazon Web Services, on Thursday, September 11. Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos will lead HP’s cloud business as Senior Vice President and General Manager and report directly to Meg Whitman, HP’s President and CEO. Mickos, a longtime critic of the OpenStack project, has recently adopted a more conciliatory approach with respect to OpenStack in what was, in hindsight, rhetorical positioning for his role at HP as leader of the OpenStack-based HP Helion cloud product portfolio. Despite his historical criticism of OpenStack, Mickos has an enviable pedigree for commercializing open source software as the prior CEO of MySQL, now one of the most widely used open source software products in the world. HP CEO Meg Whitman elaborated on Mickos’s pedigree for the position as follows:

The addition of Marten to HP’s world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we’ve had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds. Marten will enhance HP’s outstanding bench of Cloud executives and expand HP Helion capabilities, giving customers more choice and greater control of private and hybrid cloud solutions.

As Whitman notes, HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus strengthens its position with respect to hybrid cloud solutions for the enterprise, particularly given the success had by Eucalyptus in interoperating its private clouds with the Amazon Web Services public cloud. Moreover, the experience of Mickos in successfully commercializing open source software suddenly vaults HP’s chances of succeeding in the commercial OpenStack space to the level of Red Hat, IBM and Piston Cloud Computing, whereas previously its Helion cloud portfolio evinced little in the way of a promising commercialization strategy or roadmap. Even though details of the integration of Eucalyptus with HP remain scant, the one certainty that results from HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus is that the market dynamics within the commercial OpenStack space have now shifted dramatically, almost as if overnight. The rest remains to be seen as Mickos has his work cut out for him if he is indeed going to rescue HP from the abyss of empty OpenStack rhetoric to a promising, full fledged product that can compete with the likes of Piston, who have already demonstrated success in mitigating the complexities specific to OpenStack deployment and operations by way of their Piston OpenStack platform. As a result of the acquisition, Martin Fink, the current leader of HP’s cloud business will continue as CTO. Terms of the purchase of Eucalyptus were not disclosed although sources close to the deal speculate that the acquisition price was less than $100M for its technology and 70 or so employees. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of HP’s 2014 fiscal year.