I was thinking over the weekend… It’s interesting that all of the major IT vendors are returning to the old model of selling pre-integrated technology stacks to sell their wares.. It seems that the days of having “one great product” that can drive revenue (of the size that the large vendors need) are numbered and, as a result, the big guns are going back to positioning themselves as “one stop shops” for technology.
IBM (who never really moved away from the old model !) are now positioning themselves as “chip to command-line” suppliers, leaning heavily on Linux and virtualization enablers
Oracle have obviously acquired Sun to provide an integrated stack
Cisco/EMC/Vmware have partnered (with themselves !?) to create VCE to aggressively go after “Cloud”
Microsoft and HP are partnering to enable future Hyper V, .NET installations and the Azure cloud platform.
Let’s hope that, this time around, customers will actually benefit from this dynamic change. Also, it is clear the Symantec needs to show it has a very strong proposition in order to stay at the table in large data centre transformations.
An interesting report was published this week by Information Age and concerning IT strategies in 2009 (a hard year for most !). The report found that most effective IT strategies of the year to be:
1. Support mobile working
2. Server virtualisation
3. Unified IP network architectures
Certainly good news for the Hypervisors..
The least effective strategies were deemed to be:
1. Reduce IT staff costs
2. Outsourcing the IT organisation
3. Offshore development
That should raise a few eyebrows !
Brian Madden in his blog last week suggested: “If Symantec buys a client hypervisor, they could dominate the desktop virtualization market in two years.” His argument, in essence, was that Symantec had the potential to take the market by storm by buying a client-side hypervisor company. He was saying that endpoint virtualization today is complex and populated by products from many vendors, but Symantec could make it easy for customers to deploy virtualization in a way that could dramatically accelerate adoption—if only we owned a desktop hypervisor.
The reality is the hypervisor is a crucial piece of enabling technology—but one that, by itself, delivers little value. And in a situation like this customers often prefer choice—the ability to mix and match technologies to find the most effective, lowest-cost solution. Although this creates a more complex environment, that disadvantage is offset by the reduced risk of not placing all of the proverbial eggs in one basket.
But this customer preference for choice is also where I fully agree with Brian’s insight about client management. Ultimately, customers want solutions that support a complex environment, but make it simpler to secure and manage the applications and information that users need. And this is where the real power of coupling management and virtualization becomes apparent—by delivering on the promise of a workspace that can follow the user, rather than remaining tied to a device, and applications in that workspace that can be delivered independently in whatever way optimises cost, security, and performance.
So while I agree that client hypervisors will lead to faster adoption of endpoint virtualization, history has shown that it’s uncomfortable for customers to be chained to a single vendor. Symantec’s strategy rests on providing customers freedom of choice. Perhaps in this way we will take the market by storm, even if the path is somewhat different from what Brian envisaged.
Pity poor EMC. It never rains but it pours! First, IDC releases its quarterly Storage Software Report, showing that Symantec was the only company to grow during Q109, narrowing EMC’s market share lead in Overall Storage Software. IDC also shows that Symantec extended its market share lead over EMC in Storage Infrastructure Software.
Then we see a new report from The Tolly Group showing that Symantec solutions reduce Exchange backup time by more than 4,000% over EMC NetWorker! It also shows that Symantec can recover a 200MB mailbox up to 13x faster than EMC NetWorker. And, using Granular Recovery Technology (GRT), Symantec next-generation data protection solutions were able to recover individual email messages up to 220x faster than EMC NetWorker.
Let me say right now that Symantec commissioned and paid for the Tolly Group study, but that doesn’t make the results any less valid. Right now, I’ll bet that the UK’s Conservative Party is commissioning its own research into voting intentions in the next election and finding out exactly what the rest of the world already knows. It’s always important to know who is behind any research, then let the integrity of the researcher inform your view. Details of the research methodology are given below for the clinically minded.
Tolly goes on to demonstrate the performance advantage of Symantec Backup Exec and Veritas NetBackup over EMC NetWorker in VMware environments. Results of performance testing show that Symantec solutions reduce the time required to backup virtual environments by up to 350% over EMC NetWorker by performing file- and folder-level backups in a single pass.
Furthermore, Symantec solutions were able to perform full image-level backups of virtual environments twice as fast as EMC NetWorker. And Symantec solutions enable recovery of a 1GB file from the virtual environments up to 14.2 times faster than EMC NetWorker from a full image backup and 3.3 times faster from a file- and folder-level backup.
Methinks it’ll take more than buying systems management company Configuresoft to get EMC out of this particular fix. Back to the drawing board.
The tests were performed on separate clusters of like servers. Special efforts were made to ensure that the cluster environments consisting of six test servers, connected to a 4GB Fibre Channel SAN with a Fibre Channel Array and Tape Drive, were identical in configuration and performance from a hardware and application software perspective. Performance tests were done prior to loading the backup software (Symantec or the competitors) to ensure that hardware or other applications were not a factor in the testing.
The Tolly Group notified and extended an invitation to EMC and CommVault to participate in the testing. EMC did not respond to the invitation, CommVault declined to participate.
As virtualization takes the IT world by storm, the disaster recovery (DR) plans are only just beginning to catch up. The problem is this… you have a server and it runs an application. Traditional DR looks at the server and says ‘we need another one of those’ – so this is a little simplistic, but in essence its true, and more to the point, it works. Now lets bring in virtualization, one machine is no longer one machine it is multiple machines. Each could well be at different patch levels and so it is not just a case of duplicating the hardware but ensuring that the virtual environments are also up to date.
Results from a recent survey has said that 55% of people are revisiting their DR plans because of virtualization – which is good. BUT… it also highlighted that only 37% of respondents back up their virtual systems! Before virtualization that would be seen as a travesty and an accident (or disaster) waiting to happen, so why is this the case now? Lack of tools is the basic problem. But if you haven’t got the tools why go with the technology. There are the tools out there, including those to backup virtual systems – its time to look at the risks and avoid the hype. Virtualization offers great benefits, but treat it with the respect it deserves or it will come back to bite you.