By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. June 5, 2019
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been so central to the tech industry for so long that’s it’s easy to think you know everything about them. Mainly, people associate OEM functions and processes with the hardware vendors that make products which run popular commercial operating systems, like Microsoft Windows and Windows Server, along with thousands of business and consumer applications, toolsets, apps and utilities.
That’s a fair if generalized view of the subject, but it ignores the services that many of those same vendors offer to numerous companies, from tiny start-ups to multi-national enterprises. In essence, OEM organizations provide the computing “brains” that power everything from set-top cable boxes to bank ATMs to smart TVs and other home appliances to manufacturing and automation solutions to medical testing and imaging equipment to telco switching systems.
How OEMs contribute to the development, design and manufacturing of these products varies widely. That said, the notable success and continuing growth of Dell Technologies’ OEM organization over the past decade makes it a subject worth examining. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 29, 2019
The success of corporate acquisitions is never guaranteed. Too many things can go wrong. Deals look better on paper than they do in real life. Planned strategies falter. Hoped for synergies are DOA. Executive power plays cause long range damage. Key employees feel unloved and seek greener pastures.
Plus, there’s simple poor planning or execution. An acquiring company may believe that the object of its attentions offers assets, people and capital that can aid its own endeavors. But, after the deal is done, it never properly or fully does what’s necessary to gain the full benefits of the investment. The practical effect is the business equivalent of a sugar rush. A few months of “Whoa, mama! How fast can this sucker go?” ending with a Thelma and Louise-style flameout.
It happens to even highly successful companies, often time and again, with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) being a notable example. Though its recent purchase of legendary supercomputing leader Cray has been widely lauded, the history of HPE’s acquisitions suggests a more cautious approach is warranted, especially when it comes to supercomputing. Let’s consider that more closely. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 21, 2019
“Transformation” is a commonplace concept in the tech industry, and for good reason. Since the very beginning of computing, servers, personal computers, storage and networking systems and other technology products and services have been employed to fundamentally alter the ways that people live and work. Transformational IT tools and solutions have helped organizations achieve goals and successes that would have been unthinkable a generation or two ago.
But while these business transformations are compelling and even inspiring, how exactly does the process work? That subject was in the spotlight at last week’s Lenovo Accelerate 2019 partner conference in Orlando, Florida, and central to the Transform 3.0 event and industry analyst council hosted by its Data Center Group (DCG). Let’s consider what transformation means to the company and its partners, and how it is helping Lenovo DCG shift the competitive balance in numerous markets. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 14, 2019
Reports of the imminent demise of IBM’s Z mainframes, the company’s flagship enterprise system platform, have been floated – only to plummet ignominiously earthward – for over a quarter century or nearly half of the time the mainframe has been commercially available. Such rumors initially arose among IBM’s competitors in the early 1990s when the company was on the ropes, reeling like a punch-drunk boxer past his prime, until Lou Gerstner’s sober management got it back in fighting trim.
You can understand why some vendors would willingly spread garden variety fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), attempting to undermine faith in a platform they didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of besting. But how and why has IBM proved them, along with countless numbers of doubtful analysts, reporters and industry experts so wrong, so regularly for so long? The answer is fairly simple: Along with being the industry’s most stable, resilient and secure enterprise system, the IBM Z is also more flexible and adaptable than other platforms.
In essence, the reason that the mainframe has thrived for well over a half century is because IBM has reinvented it time and again to support the evolving needs and business requirements of its enterprise customers. That ability to evolve in order to support the evolution of others is clear in the Tailored Fit Pricing for IBM Z offerings that the company announced this week. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 8, 2019
There was a time when most personal computers (PCs) for business had a specifically utilitarian look and feel: clunky, durable, built for the long haul—not for speed. It was more about practicality than a dedication to any specific design aesthetic. While consumers tended to replace their PCs every 3 to 4 years, it wasn’t unusual to see commercial organizations squeezing 4 to 5 or even six years out of workplace PCs.
Things began to change in the mid-2000s with the advent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends among younger workers who preferred highly mobile solutions to tethered office PCs and phones. Their employers and IT vendors followed close behind with generations of ever more powerful, sleek client devices, including notebooks, tablets and smart phones. But it would be a mistake to think that client devices alone define workplace computing. Equally or even more important are the related deployment and PC lifecycle management (PCLM) services vendors offer commercial customers.
Last week at Dell Technologies World 2019, the company showed off the 10th generation of its venerable Latitude mobile PCs for business. In addition, it introduced the new Dell Technologies Unified Workspace, a suite of services that it offers businesses for deploying, managing, maintaining and securing client devices of every kind. Let’s take a closer look at what Dell announced and what it means for the company’s tens of thousands of commercial customers. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 8, 2019
At Dell Technologies World 2019 last week, Virtustream—Dell Technologies’ enterprise-class cloud business—announced a pair of new initiatives worthy of consideration. The first was an expanded collaboration between Virtustream and Equinix, a provider of private networking solutions for directly connecting enterprise customers with cloud computing platforms.
The second was a major update of the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud designed to greatly simplify the planning, deployment and migration of electronic healthcare records (EHR) systems hosted in the cloud. However, both announcements reflect more substantial issues: what constitutes “enterprise-class” cloud computing and how does it differ from commonplace cloud services? Moreover, why or when do organizations need these services?
Let’s consider how Virtustream’s announcements reflect on these larger points. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. May 1, 2019
Corporate acquisitions nearly always float on rising tides of optimism. The soon to be merged businesses and their executives believe their lives, futures and potential will be brighter if conjoined than apart and spend significant resources to that end. However, there is still considerable work ahead after a deal is done.
Products, divisions, leadership positions great and small all need to be considered, rejiggered and sometimes replaced. Old faces depart, new hires arrive. At the end of what is often a years-long process, the whole is, hopefully, greater than the sum of the separate parts.
But how often is that true? In the case of large-scale tech industry deals, middling results or outright failure is all too often the case. Just look at HP’s Compaq, EDS and Autonomy acquisitions. But there have been some notable successes, including Dell’s 2016 purchase of EMC for $67B, the largest such deal in tech industry history.
The fully mature results of Dell’s effort were on display in Las Vegas this week at Dell Technologies World 2019. Let’s consider what the company has accomplished, where it is going and what that means for its customers, partners and competitors. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. April 24, 2019
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a cause célèbre inside and outside the IT industry, inspiring often heated debate. However, a point that many—especially AI focused vendors—make is that cloud-based computing offers the best model for supporting AI frameworks, like Caffe, PyTorch and TensorFlow, and related machine learning processes.
But is that actually the case?
Gyrfalcon Technology (GTI) would argue that delivering robust AI at far edges of networks and in individual devices is both workable and desirable for many applications and workloads. In fact, the company offers a host of AI inference accelerator chips that can be used for those scenarios, as well as cloud-based server solutions for AI applications.
Now GTI is licensing its proprietary circuitry and intellectual property (IP) for use in System on Chip (SoC) designs. As a result, silicon vendors will be able to enhance and customize their own offerings with GTI’s innovations.
Let’s take a closer look at what Gyrfalcon Technologies is up to. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. April 17, 2019
Continual product evolution is one of the tech industry’s best and longest running selling points. It’s the foundational truth underlying technical chestnuts, like Moore’s Law and provides the subtext for innumerable marketing and promotional campaigns. But an often unaddressed yet valuable point to consider is the top-down way in which this evolution usually proceeds.
Developing new products costs money – lots, in fact, when it comes to business solutions. So not surprisingly, new products are initially designed to address the needs of large enterprises and other organizations that can afford to foot the bill and are willing to pay a premium for the new features, capabilities and benefits those solutions provide.
But eventually – often, fairly quickly – what were once enterprise-specific technologies find their way into more affordable, yet still innovative products designed for smaller companies and the channel/business partners that serve them. These points are clear in the new and updated additions IBM recently made to its Storwize V5000 family of solutions. Continue reading
By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. April 10, 2019
Issues of trust seldom arise in discussions about modern computing systems. It’s not that hardware and software are perfect. In fact, publications and online forums contain tens of thousands of posts hashing out the relative merits of various PCs, workstations and servers. But those products have been so commonplace for so long that their essential “rightness” as well as the results they provide are hardly ever questioned.
However, that wasn’t always the case, and a similar dynamic applies to most all emerging technical and scientific breakthroughs, including commercial artificial intelligence (AI) solutions designed for businesses and other organizations. Considering the inherent complexity of machine learning, neural networks and other AI-related processes, customers’ confusion about AI isn’t all that surprising. But what can be done to assuage their misgivings and bring AI into the mainstream?
Vendors, including IBM are tackling the problem with solutions designed to make AI processes and results more explainable, understandable and trustworthy. That should satisfy clients’ doubts and accelerate the adoption of commercial offerings, but explainable AI also yields other significant benefits. Let’s consider why explainable AI is so important and how IBM’s innovations are impacting its customers. Continue reading