Thursday, 25 October 2007

Features or scaled down products?

Chuck Hollis of EMC has posted an interesting article this weekend. The products versus features argument is one I'm only too aware of having worked in data circles for so long.

A point which Chuck manages to scoot over quite well is the fact that, whilst "every time I see some small company getting attention over some feature they've brought to market, a part of me is saddened by the ultimate reality that it's highly unlikely they'll make it alone", he still works as VP for Technology Alliances for EMC, so he kind of has the ultimate say in whether they will make it at all these days. I guess it's not surprising, the cream always rises to the top, and he's obviously got a great eye for the right products. This isn't really the point.

What interested me was his comments about Decru and Neoscale, two companies I have had direct and indirect contact and competition with over the years. Decru are a laid back bunch, no doubt aided by their recent(ish) acquisition by NetApp, which left all concerned with reasonable pay-offs and the chance to hang on to their old jobs. Apparently NetApp haven't spent much time working them into the company as a whole, but the technology is being adopted and built in to the existing filers. It will be interesting to see what becomes of "Decru - a NetApp company" when this process is finished. Will the feature become part of the product and therefore exist no more? Will the Decru guys and girls be overly concerned if/when it does? It was undoubtedly a good acquisition for NetApp at the time, but are they kicking themselves now that they didn't try and code it themselves?

Neo on the other hand don't have the luxury of acquisition investment, and there have been various reports pertaining to the fact that their product is also just a feature - a feature which companies like EMC can apply to their storage much more easily than a device out in the SAN fabric. There are no such questions surrounding their existence as part of another company then, so is it too late for acquisition on their terms?

There was a rumour going around at RSA which I am interested to find out the truth behind. Having said that, there was a rumour about Vontu recently, which I have straight from the horse's mouth (Kevin Rowney, founder and CTO who I am having lunch with the week after next in SF) is completely fabricated. Hopefully I'll have more on the Neo story in a few days time, but due to America's strict libel laws I will keep my mouth shut - I'm flying in on Saturday and Hoff has already threatened to put me on the no-fly list, I can do without a lawsuit too. :)

No comments: