Stack Wars: Episode V - The Enterprise Strikes Back

After part 1, looking at Oracle’s stake in a Red on Red future, it’s time to take a look at how the war is heating up. All vendors realise that the Stack Wars outcome, currently being fought on the Enterprise front, will dictate...

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After part 1, looking at Oracle’s stake in a Red on Red future, it’s time to take a look at how the war is heating up.

All vendors realise that the Stack Wars outcome, currently being fought on the Enterprise front, will dictate future dominance in the ‘hotting up’ Cloud Wars. Cloud is beginning to move beyond the hype and starting to impact Enterprise buying decisions.

In essence, vendors know that if a client goes Red on Red then migrating to a Red Cloud will be easier. It’s equally true for a Blue on Blue migration to a Blue Cloud. Few customers will want the hassle of changing stack when they make the move to the cloud, as it’s hard enough to change service provider from internal to external.

Cloud (stack) City
Thus Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle are jostling for Cloud dominance by fighting for Stack victories at enterprise level, as well as courting the hosting, outsourcing and pure play cloud vendors. As Lando says to Princess Leia in the movie “You look absolutely beautiful. You truly belong here with us among the clouds.”

It’s therefore no surprise to see IBM introducing a new Mainframe in its zEnterprise portfolio with a price point 25% less than previous entry points. At $75,000, it is evidence that the IBM Mainframe zLinux push is serious and IBM want to gain Red on Blue as well as Blue on Blue battles.

After all it’s not unusual to hear the “more mature” folks in the industry describing the mainframe model as being identical to the cloud model - centralised management, pay-as-you-go, secure, robust, fault tolerant…

CIO Leverage
With vendor acquisitions creating “super vendors” and destroying variety of component choices, CIOs realise that this loss of vendor leverage is forcing them into strategy routes that increase dependence on fewer vendors, and towards the adoption of stacks - trends that may never be reversed.

Hence we are seeing a rapidly growing number of CIOs resisting single vendor stacks. Instead they are opting to maintain leverage and manage vendor dependencies through mixed vendor stack policies.

These tie in with effective strategic vendor management programmes, even if some TCO models could suggest there will be a price to be paid for having less absolute dependency on any specific super vendor.

Just how long CIOs can resist the logical lure of the “engineered as one” TCO argument is unclear. But the attraction of lower costs and clearer accountability is compelling, even if it might mean temporarily turning to The Dark Side.

Watch this space.