IBM were always going to go acquisitive this year and it’s no surprise to me that the first target appears to be Sun. They could have waited for Sun’s stock price to tank even more but that was going to be a risk and who knows who else might have come in for the once celestial body. As other commentators have already pointed out, this is not a reaction to Cisco’s announcement on Monday but more a strike against HP. This is about being Number 1 again!
IBM already make a huge amount of money out of selling software on Sun hardware, there’s a lot of WebSphere out there running on Solaris servers. There’s a lot of IBM software full-stop running on Sun kit. IBM Global Services probably run more Solaris servers than most; I know of a number of huge deals which involve IBM running Sun servers. By buying Sun, they can grab more of this dollar.
And there’s the Open Source aspect; IBM embraced Open Source and especially Linux in a way which was most un-IBM like. Whilst Sun were sending mixed messages out, IBM set about working out how to make money out of Open Source by fully leveraging their services organisation. Sun, finally, came to the party and but like many late-comers, they overpaid for their entrance. But Sun still have technologies which I am sure that IBM would like to get their hands on and I am pretty sure that IBM know how to monetize them.
Java, a technology that IBM probably know better than Sun themselves. At times you would even believe that Java was already an IBM product.
IBM also pickup VirtualBox which shows some promise as a desktop virtualisation tool.
Yes IBM will have to kill products and at least one sacred cow will have to go; AIX or Solaris. That’s a hard one to call. Solaris on pSeries would be an interesting proposition but I suspect AIX will survive; it’ll pick up some technologies from Solaris, ZFS for example. And if Solaris goes; where does that leave Sparc?
And there’s the storage aspect. Have HDS just lost a channel? I cannot see IBM reselling USP, Barry W would be apoplectic! NetApp relationship? I can see that being strained somewhat; with some further engineering, the 7000 series could be an excellent competitor at the low-mid range for NetApp FAS but there is a question mark over the future of Solaris as I mentioned earlier.
Enterprise Tape? Well, IBM will own that market with the addition of Storagetek. Hopefully someone will come and pick Quantum up! Stornext FTW!
IBM and Sun both resell LSI; so that shouldn’t be a problem for them.
But at the end of the day, this isn’t really about technology and it’s not about storage. This is about market-share, this is about mind-share, this is about services and this is about coming out of the down-turn as Number 1.
And if it isn’t true; well, congratulations to the person who wanted to distract from Cisco’s UCS..way to go!!