Continued from part two…
Most of them are gaining traction because the proprietary link between hardware and software (and the required services, training, certifications, etc.) that fueled the tech leaders for more than a decade is being eroded by virtualization and opening up the playing field in the same way that cable ultimately undermined the influence of the three major broadcast networks.
What standards could never accomplish in the era of tech giant hegemony is now not only possible but thriving as software and hardware are decoupled and creating the Cambrian Cloud Explosions I discussed in a September 2009 blog:
So then what happens when IT is freed from the shackles of manual scripting and configuration and change approval committees, and IT pros can focus on policy (security/access, application delivery, network, expense, etc)? Tools evolve leveraging the new infrastructure that enables new potentials, similar to what occurred when desktop OSs evolved (from CLI to GUI for example); users expanded and created markets for more tools for more processes.
Lowy published another report a few weeks later (Where’s Lou When You Need Him, Mizuho Securities, May 18, 2011) that gave me pause based on my recent defense of Chambers. The challenge that Cisco faces today is likely beyond Chambers and whether he is a salesman or marketer at heart, but rather how companies with the size and clout of a Cisco can resize into smaller, fast-growing markets with packaged offerings which undermine the beneficial status quo as fast as nimbler competitors. When Gerstner revamped IBM into a solutions-centric company the IT world was still relatively static, at least by today’s standards.
The Virtualization Meteor Takes IT from Manual-Centric to Automated-Centric Tasks
VMware entered the production environment by credit card and with the help of a growing cadre of value-add partners leveraging software that was inexpensive, easy to deploy and functionally powerful. It addressed the demands created by the increasing rates of change and higher VM/server density on the new blade servers. IT pros could shrink the management costs of their hardware by embracing virtualization technology.
Last summer I speculated as to whether or not VMware would become the next Microsoft. The points raised by Gabe beg the question of how Cisco will emerge post meteor, as virtualization spreads to the network and turns the appliance game upside down yet again in favor of software and IT goes from rabbit ears to cable.
Also- it It sounds like GigaOm has weighed in on teh VMware becomes Microsoft with: VMware Is The New Microsoft, Just Without an OS.
Thanks again Gabe for a great chat. This is part three of a series of blogs inspired by a call with Mizuho analyst Gabe Lowy.