A few related news posts made me chuckle (in a good way) this week:
Microsoft unveils storage arrays with ties into Azure – Their StorSimple 8100 and 8600 can migrate your infrequently-accessed data up to the cloud, sorta giving you infinite capacity for archival. I doubt EMC and NetApp are quaking in their boots, but it still puts hardware partners on notice that Microsoft is willing to brand all kinds of hardware – not just tablets and phones – and use its cloud capacity as a feature.
Microsoft possibly working on Azure-in-a-box – it’s not clear yet whether these will be partner-branded hardware like the
PDW Analytics Platform System, or whether they’ll carry MS branding like the StorSimple storage arrays, Surfaces, and Windows Phones. After all, they’ve already shared their open server designs for their own data centers, and they’re in the hardware business. It would make sense to start selling these, with the ability to LiveMigrate your VMs right up into Azure, or move your SQL databases up there. One support number to call for everything, like Genius Bar for the enterprise.
Microsoft acquires DR software tool InMage, will integrate w/Azure – so you can do backups of your on-premise servers and use Azure Site Recovery as your disaster recovery site. Traditional DR providers like HP and SunGard are suddenly on notice.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella changes the company mission – sure, sure, these kinds of memos don’t mean much on the surface. He lets go of Ballmer’s mission of “devices and services” and rephrases it as “At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.”
Amazon announces Zocalo, a Box/Dropbox/Google Drive competitor – shared file storage in the cloud. These types of services usually launch atop Amazon’s dirt-cheap S3 storage. Amazon watched Dropbox slowly become successful, and then stepped in to provide their own service – competing with one of their own clients. (Although these days, isn’t everybody an Amazon client one way or another?)
If you build your business on someone else’s infrastructure,
and they notice you making a lot of money,
and they have enough in-house expertise to copy you,
and their own margins are under pressure,
I’m not immune, either. I’m a consultant on Microsoft products, and Microsoft has their own consultants too. I know I have to compete, and I’m coming from behind. I’m going in with less resources and less salespeople, so I have to be wily – but I’m making that decision knowing my competitors.
Dropbox, Box, HP, SunGard – these companies are getting surprised by a much larger partner. I’m excited to see how these battles shape up.