Predictions For 2010: Starting With Vendors Begining With "E"

So, after some holiday time off and taking care of some unexpected family business, it's time to get back into the swing of things for 2010. I thought I'd kick off the new-year with a set of predictions. But rather than do an all-encompassing set of industry predictions, I've decided to start with companies starting with an "E" first and then move on from there. Here is how I see things unfolding for three "E" vendors in the IT space in 2010. We can match them up to actual events at the end of t

Tom Trainer

January 30, 2010

4 Min Read
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So, after some holiday time of and taking care of some unexpected family business, it's time to get back into the swing of things for 2010. I thought I'd kick off the new-year with a set of predictions. But rather than do an all-encompassing set of industry predictions, I've decided to start with companies starting with an "E" first and then move on from there. Here is how I see things unfolding for three "E" vendors in the IT space in 2010. We can match them up to actual events at the end of the year.

EMC will continue to take market share in the high-end storage space and will introduce even more innovations on its V-MAX platform, particularly in the areas of network connectivity, scalability, performance and optimization for highly virtualized environments.

Should EMC meet their publicly discussed time frames for the release of the full-fledged version (sub-LUN optimization) of Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST), they will have no equal in the enterprise storage space when it hits the market.  FAST's ability to optimize storage utilization and improve application performance across IT environments will bring new buyers into the Symmetrix fold.

As EMC continues to benefit from Intel's performance curve, the company is positioned to extend its customers the benefits of Intel's new 8-core Xeon Nehalem EX processors this year, which would mean a very large performance boost and lower power consumption for Symmetrix buyers. Analytico highly encourages other storage vendors to step up their storage array development cycles and rapidly bring competitive innovation to their products, or risk falling behind, or further behind, EMC as the year moves on.

Emulex continues to make desperate marketing moves to try and tout its Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) but fails to demonstrate substantial OEM design wins for the product. The company has shacked up with Blade Network Technology in a confusing alliance around 10GbE and seemingly has announced the same thing - three times: that IBM will use its re-badged NIC, sourced from ServerEngines, for Ethernet connectivity, not FCoE.  (Note to Emulex Marketing: There is no need to announce this a fourth time....)

Emulex also announced an "exclusive design win" with Verari for FCoE, but then Verari collapsed three days after Emulex's glowing announcement. Now, Emulex is going on about how its UCNA offers "one million IOPs" of performance as compared to Brocade and QLogic. It's a safe bet that the major OEMs have known about UCNA's performance capabilities for at least the past 12 months, so why haven't they awarded any FCoE design wins to the product? Could it be because there is no support agreement in place between ServerEngines and Emulex? Analytico believes that as long as Emulex continues to rely on ServerEngines for its Ethernet stack, the long-term fate of the UCNA is uncertain, particularly with industry sources still indicating that LSI is in discussions to acquire ServerEngines. The threat here is that LSI could decide to be an FCoE supplier themselves and nix Emulex out of the supply loop.Find me one OEM--besides the remnants of Verari--that stocks UCNA specifically for FCoE. I would love to talk to them and get a feel for how things are going with the UCNA. In my book, any company that claims one million IOPs can be achieved with its product using 512 byte block sizes, when real-world applications like Microsoft Exchange run 4K byte block sizes, has a marketing problem. Focus on what customers can actually use in their production data centers to solve real world problems and don't waste their time with random "one million IOPS" claims. This is typical spin when products are lagging the competition in the marketplace. In 2010, I predict Emulex will indeed find moderate success reselling ServerEngines' NIC cards (as the "UCNA") but will continue to be a straggler in the actual FCoE horse race.

Egenera has the opportunity to become less irrelevant as Cisco ramps up its Unified Computing System (UCS) servers in 2010. This is a company that nailed the idea of combining compute, storage and networking resources in a single, unified data center "brick" six years ago, but for a number of reasons, they never executed well enough to make serious market inroads. Now, with Cisco essentially building a new "brick," Egenera could ride the new wave of interest being generated by Cisco.

Speaking with a number of user clients, it is becoming clearer that enterprises are paying more attention to "unified and utility" computing solutions - especially with the VMware, Cisco, EMC coalition and the recently announced VMware, Cisco and NetApp pact. With $180M invested in Egenera since 2000, and with the company now claiming to be "software-centric" and half the size it used to be, I'm not sure what kind of ROI its investors actually expect. Analytico predicts that Egenera should look for a buyer--quickly--before the Cisco UCS wave becomes a tsunami - and while stepped up innovation can keep the offering competitive.

So that's my take -- do you agree? Disagree? Have any predictions of your own to add?

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