The acquisition of EMC by Dell clearly marks a turning point in the ever-evolving landscape of enterprise IT. What’s less clear is just what we’re turning toward, and I’d like to share a few thoughts on that very important question.
First let me say congratulations to EMC. Whatever the competitive dynamics, our friends in Hopkinton spent the last 35 years building a Boston-area startup into a $67 Billion enterprise IT powerhouse, and that’s something to be commended. EMC dominated the “beautiful box” era of enterprise IT, an era this transaction definitively ends.
Even more remarkably, they had the vision to see a changing world, a world where customers wanted less physical hardware to knit together, and more virtual software available on demand. Their $625 million acquisition of VMware – the crown jewel among the 68 acquisitions they’ve completed since 1996 – represents about $30 billion of their total sale price, a return on investment even a venture capitalist would envy.
Today the world they helped usher in overtook the one they had dominated. Virtualization has already transformed the server businesses at HP, Dell, and IBM. We all buy boxes from these legacy vendors, of course, but we do so at rapidly commoditizing, value prices. As the consolidation of box vendors continues, economies of scale will become the key to survival. We expect there will only be a handful of large box vendors left in 18 months, and that not all of them will be headquartered in North America.
Making boxes inexpensive – whether they be commodity servers or commodity storage – is now more important than making them beautiful. That’s what Dell will bring to EMC, and doing so will benefit customers, the market at large, and yes, even Actifio.
We, of course, are in a very different business. Actifio was founded six years ago on the observation that enterprise IT was secularly moving towards an outcome-centric service model supported by commodity infrastructure. We set out to create the platform enterprises would need to protect, access, and move data in that world; a platform designed top-down from application SLAs rather than bottom-up from vendor-specific infrastructure; a platform that would make data stored anywhere instantly available anywhere it was needed by the business. Today hundreds of enterprise customers across 37 countries leverage Actifio to deliver private, public, and hybrid data clouds to their internal and external users, and we are well on our way to fulfilling that mission.
Actifio is now unquestionably the world’s fastest solution for backup and restore, business resiliency, test-dev data management, and hybrid cloud mobility. Dozens of partners are now developing independent applications tapping Actifio as the data management system of record, accelerating not only their applications but also their businesses.
Data itself is the infrastructure that matters. That’s what Actifio delivers, and what we’ve been focused on delivering from the start.
I and the whole team at Actifio want to thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in crossing this threshold, in transforming IT to not only leverage the unmatched economics of the cloud, but to deliver unprecedented outcomes for the business. In our world, as perhaps in yours, fast is the new big. Know that we are more focused than ever on moving faster, even as others are getting bigger.
Founder & CEO, Actifio