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Let's check out Dell, doom and the competition

Now would be a good time not to be in Dell's crosshairs

Sysadmin blog In case you missed it: pretty much the entire IT industry's margins are collapsing. It is hitting all sectors from smartphones to desktops to servers, storage and even networking. Tech has reached "good enough" for most, and now price rules.

This is Dell's world, and now it's packing EMC ammunition.

Software-defined-whatsits and public clouds are putting pressure on old school vendors. Youngsters cutting their teeth on the technology of the now look at dinosaurs like Cisco with incomprehension.

They live in a world where everything can be addressed with an API and vendor lock-in is simply not to be tolerated.

In the future (or the now, if you're young), data is separated from the things that make data work. At the application level this is what the microvisor/container revolution is about.

But it keeps going upwards. Applications are segmented away from operating systems. Operating systems from the hardware the run on. Services from the data centres that supply them and data centres from the companies that use them.

This isn't about abstraction or ease of use for the simple and hard of learning. This is about actually learning from the mistakes of the past and designing for failure at all levels. From the hardware through the operating system across networks and even at the administrative, political and economic domains.

Tomorrow's technologists watched us get screwed over and over again by every company we dealt with and they are designing their technologies such that they have absolute control. Or so they think. That's another story for another time.

The take away is that the developer empowerment movement of the 2010s is going to mean that hardware vendors of the 2020s live on razor thin margins. We'll be buying an entire data centre's worth of infrastructure in a single SKU and Dell knows this.

The coming bloodbath

When the dust settles, there won't be room for all the titans that exist today. The market won't support that level of competition. Someone big has to die and with the EMC buy Dell has openly declared war on both HP and Cisco.

Despite some awful quotes, Cisco is a very real threat. At the very least it should be, given its assets, customer base and shedloads of talent. Whether or not it is in the long run is really up to the new CEO. (No pressure, man. No pressure.)

HP could be a threat, if it had competent leadership, but it doesn't. HP have people with vision, they just can't get off the quarterly bonus cycle and that sort of short-termism will be the end of it.

You can't fire your way to victory during a market consolidation (and I promise you, the next 10 years are going to be a bloodbath) and expect to have something left at the end of the day to differentiate you from the rest of the pack.

Especially since HP's differentiating feature seems to be that it's more expensive and trying hard to achieve Oracle levels of customer animosity.

Next page: NetApp is hosed

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