Coté Memo #043: EMC + (HP XOR Dell) == what? “Fabrics” returning, and the joys of bicycle jousting


Hello again, welcome to #043. Today we have 51 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.


Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

  • Mirantis wants to part ways with Red Hat and it’s easy to see why – Mirantis has several “strategic” relationships and investments (vendors that invested in them, partner with them, etc.). As they expand, you know, it can get weird.
  • Why Rackspace will fly solo: the market is evolving – nice 451 commentary from Scott Ottaway and Carl Brooks: “The selection of an internal candidate for CEO also indicates that Rackspace will focus on its strategic direction of targeting customers that value managed services tightly wrapped into public and private cloud services. It will also focus on offering cloud services across multiple platforms beyond OpenStack, including VMware and Microsoft, and emerging services like bare-metal servers and devops.”
  • Dell World speaker schedule without star keynote; panel to open show – one doesn’t want to read too much into DellWorld line-ups at all. But, hey, less big stars, which I think is fine. I usually skip the big interviews because they have nothing to do with the company, whatsoever.
    More converged cloud theory – “They prefer buying a whole lot of stuff from one vendor, and we were open to the acquisition because it is in the interests of the customers that we are serving. We had a lot of customers asking us to do managed clouds, others were asking us for hardware recommendations. These were signals to us that it would not be a bad idea to have an end-to-end solution ready.”
  • Summary of Cloud & Data Center Automation Content at Engage – I’ll be at BMC’s conference this year. Oddly enough, the first time ever. Why odd? I worked there as a programmer for 5 years, covered them for about 6 years at RedMonk (OK, I went to an analyst conference they had which was very nice). It’ll be fun! If you’ll be there, let’s get together. I know the Swan and Dolphin and the boardwalk area like the back of my hand (thanks, IBM!).
  • Mesos Founding Father/Twitter Fail Whale Slayer Hindman Joins Mesosphere – eventually, these dudes or CoreOS will be a big deal. Perhaps both of them, but probably not unless they merge which wouldn’t really make sense, I don’t think.
  • Mobile security pain overwhelms the enterprise – damn mobile phones. The thing you have to remember is that each computer is kind of different: different enough to require new management stacks. You can’t use mainframe tools to manage Unix, can’t use Unix tools to manage x86/Windows/Web, etc. New devices mean new management tools, including security. Stay safe out there!
  • Article: Q&A on Kanban in Action – I should check this out. I have a theory that if I can apply Kanban to my white-collar work, things will go better. I can never really figure out Trello for “make that presentation” or “write that report.” Worse, my co-workers and folks on my team could give a crap about Kanban. The Office toolchain is just fine for them, thank you very much…which is fine.
  • The need for internal digital evangelism – I make this point all the time: if you want to change how things are done, you need to show-up, a lot. Sorry.
  • “Fabrics” are probably coming back – “We are seeing more and more customers looking at multitenancy requirements, and the word of the day is microsegmentation – how do you segment the infrastructure from end to end so you can run your risk analytics next to your Hadoop infrastructure?” Remember when everything was a “fabric.” We had “vFabric,” Microsoft talked in terms of fabrics, etc. I always thought it was a hella-cheesy, but I get the sense we might see the metaphor com eup again.
  • Linux? Bah! Red Hat has its eye on the CLOUD – and it wants to own it – nice letter from the Red Hat corporate strategy party.
  • Does Alibaba offer a ‘golden opportunity’ for U.S. small businesses? – I think what you (people who care about infrastructure-y stuff in the enterprise world) want to pay attention to here is how the hyper-scale Chinese web companies are positioned to be just like Amazon, down to AWS. As I understand it, AWS isn’t massive in RoR (“rest of world,” outside of Gringo-land on both sides of the pond), so there’s gap to fill. Everyone likes cloud, but lots of folks don’t like Yankees.
  • Heroku Rolls Out Metrics to Help Users Optimize Performance – they’re doing their own systems management. Fun!
  • BMC Software Sues ServiceNow for Patent Infringement – hey, it’s the thing Big 4 vendors do. “You kids (who used to be on our lawn and who, really, we bought the lawn from…hrm)…get off my lawn!”
  • Chinese Tourists Find a Movable Feast Best Left Behind – a large European city filled with dog poop and rude people! Sacrebleu! (See you in Paris for the OpenStack Summit!)
  • Puppet Labs hands strings to admins with updated DevOps tools – PuppetConf just wrapped and there’s some new features.

Rumors of EMC merging with HP XOR Dell

As I mentioned in Twitter, I think this would be a bonkers idea. Cats and dogs. Those companies all dislike each other. They’re so big it’s difficult to know how they’d properly integrate together. It looks like the rumors have blown over.

However, having worked in M&A for a few years, you can’t dismiss things like this too much. You have to remember how long acquisition projects are too: they rarely just pop-up over the weekend and have been churning around for 6, 12, even more months. At this scale, it’s also important to look at divestitures or “carve outs,” companies selling just part of themselves.

The bigger question would be: why? What advantage would a merger between EMC + (HP XOR Dell) get you? You could fire a bunch of shared staff (HR, finance, etc.), consolidate some campuses. Maybe get some benefits from account sharing. On the account sharing front, Dell’s “mid-market focus” would be a better match, on-paper, with EMC’s “enterprise focus.” Technology wise, it’s not like these things would suddenly work well together. You’d have duplicate storage portfolios that’d you have to consolidate – good luck with that!

Also, Dell and EMC don’t really like each other. I have no idea about HP.

So, it’s hard to see what the value would be. Why would two of those entites together perform (make more revenue, more profit) better than if they were seperate? That’s what you need to ask. Acquisitions are risky and rarely work out well, so you’re taking on a risk. The payoffs have to be both simple and big. Anything else is probably gonna fizzle.

(You have no idea how hard it’s been to not type “synergy” as this is the one context – M&A where “synergy” an appropriate word and not some B.S.)

Like I said, though, you should never dismiss M&A rumors too easily if they’re reported by credible reporters. Crazy stuff happens and there’s all sorts of cloak and daggers that goes around.

I’ll take the big iPhone, not the giant one

After much equivocating on either side, I decided on the iPhone 6, with 128 gigs of course. I tried out both in the store and the Plus seemed just fine. It seems too fragile though and I know I’ll like the size of the iPhone 6. I’m moving from a iPhone 4s, so it’ll be big enough.

And, really, after two years, I can just get a big one if I want. It seems wise to pass on a first gen big phone. We’ll see what happens.

Lucky for me, my credit card company “detected” fraud, so I’ll probably have to re-submit the order all over. Huzzah! (How ironic, given the point of Apple Pay: I don’t think taking out cards is inconvenient, it’s the fraud crap that’s annoying.)

Fun & IRL

  • Jousting on Bicycles – the reason I like “old” stuff like this is because it has that illusion of a time when we have relaxing figured out. If someone has enough time and mental capacity to come up with and execute such a nutty scheme, it seems like they’re living a relaxing life. Meanwhile, in contrast, it seems like contemporary life is a never-ending series of death-mark projects that are waiting to explode. Where’s my 5pm commuter train back to the suburbs?

  • I’ll be traveling a lot over the next few months and I’m sure I’ll miss some days here and there. Apologies ahead of time.

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