What VMware’s SpringSource Acquisition Means for Microsoft

On Aug. 10, 2009, VMware announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately held open source Java application framework and platform developer SpringSource for $420 million ($331 million in cash, $31 million in equity for vested options, $58 million for unvested stocks/options). Customers will ultimately care about VMware’s acquisition of SpringSource because together the two will be able to offer a tightly integrated enterprise and cloud application platform similar to Microsoft’s server products, including the .NET application frameworks, Windows Server application runtime platform, and Systems Center management product offerings. The tight integration that VMware, Microsoft, and ultimately IBM and Oracle, aspire to offer — with slightly different approaches — is critical for bringing down dramatically the TCO of enterprise and cloud applications built on these platforms. This note examines the acquisition and its impact on a brewing battle between Microsoft and VMware.…

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Bringing Moore’s Law to the Data Storage Market

Flash solid-state drives (SSD) will enable a once-in-a-decade improvement in storage price-performance. Flash SSDs sit between the CPU main memory and the spinning disks, offering more capacity per dollar than main memory and more speed per dollar than disks. Crucially, flash SSDs enable storage to keep up with the rapid advances in CPU speeds driven by Moore’s Law. This may enable customers to dramatically scale back purchases of expensive Fibre Channel (FC) disks and, potentially, high-end FC arrays. However, some early flash SSDs implementations come with a set of limitations that customers need to be aware of, notably around usability and resilience. This note illustrates how the combination of technological advances and declining prices will open up new use cases for flash SSDs in the enterprise, while flagging some of the caveats that customers need to be aware of.…

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De-Duplicating the Storage Industry

Companies are rolling out storage efficiency technology as fast as they can since that technology helps delay and avoid additional capital expenditures that would otherwise be needed to accommodate ongoing data growth. Data Domain is the leader in storage efficiency and therefore represents an attractive target to larger storage OEMs that are driving the consolidation of the industry. This note examines the strategic rationale of the deal for the different potential acquirers as well as for Data Domain, elaborates on what the deal means for customers, and puts Data Domain’s offerings in the context of storage efficiency technologies and trends.…

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Will Storage Go the Way of The Server?

The storage industry is on the cusp of the biggest structural change since networked storage began to substitute for direct-attached storage a decade ago. Despite being one of the fastest growing technology sectors in terms of capacity, the economics for many participants are deteriorating. Several major technology shifts will radically redefine the economics of the industry leading to slimmer margins for all but the most innovative, software-driven players. In essence, the future of storage is about storage software that increasingly absorbs intelligence that used to be hard-wired in a proprietary storage controller and array, which in turn is increasingly becoming an abundant pool of commodity disks. It is the pace of this transition that is at issue. In this report, we show how the different customer segments and associated workloads will evolve at different paces, and examine the associated opportunities for both incumbents and new market entrants.…

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VMware’s vSphere4 Announcement: A Critical Perspective

VMware just announced a major refresh of its server virtualization product line, renamed vSphere4. VMware vSphere 4 aims to aggregate and manage large pools of infrastructure — processors, memory, storage and networking — as a seamless, flexible and dynamic operating environment. As the company's biggest announcement in almost three years, vSphere4 marks a big step forward. This note examines the primary objectives of the relaunch, as well as the implications for VMware's market position relative to competitors Microsoft and Citrix.…

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