An old Bob Dylan song titled “The Times They are A-Changin’ ” reminds me of what’s going on in tech today. The reality is the nature of the tech industry is constant change, which is why smaller vendors can come out of nowhere and become market leaders in the blink of an eye. This forces the established vendors to transform themselves to stay relevant or go the way of names such as Novell, Compaq, 3Com, Sun Microsystems and so many others that failed to change.
While evolution has become a steady theme, the rate at which change is happening is accelerating. This is driven by the cloud that makes it easier for anyone with a good idea to create a start-up on a limited budget. In this week’s ZKast, done in conjunction with eWEEK, eSPEAKS, my co-host Chris Preimesberger and I discuss what lies ahead for a few well-established vendors, including Dell, VMware, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks and Avaya. We sprinkle in what we think of the current ship shortage. Highlights of the discussion are below:
Thoughts on the Dell-VMware split
- Earlier this month, Dell announced it would spin off its 81% ownership stake in VMware.
- VMware will pay out a one-time cash dividend to shareholders worth about $11.5B to $12B. This includes a $9.3B to $9.7B to Dell.
- This will help Dell pay down the debt it acquired when it bought EMC, which brought it VMware.
- The CEO position of VMware is still vacant after longtime head; Pat Gelsinger is now at Intel to turn it around.
- There are several people rumored to be in the running for the job. Most VMware watchers, including Preimesberger, expect current VMware COO Sanjay Poonen to land the job.
- Other executives from VMware, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco have been bandied about as possible replacements.
- The breakup of the two companies likely will not impact VMware but could have a negative effect on Dell. Dell has dominated a few key markets because of its relationship with VMware. For example, in the hyper-converged infrastructure market, Dell’s product roadmap is in lockstep with VMware, which is the top use case for HCI. This has allowed it to stretch its lead on companies like Nutanix. Dell may struggle without the VMware linkage.
- Also, the spinoff leaves Dell with now significant software products.
- Dell Tech World is this week, and we should learn more about the strategy at the event.
- Dell is expected to discuss project Apex, its shift to portfolio-as-a-service. This should be the most significant announcement from Dell in quite some time.
Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks announce positive earnings
- Network vendors, Juniper and Extreme announced quarterly results recently,
- Juniper posted quarterly revenues of $1.07B, up 8% year over year.
- Much of the company’s growth has been driven by a few key acquisitions that have allowed the organization to transform itself into a cloud and software company. These include Mist (AI), 128 Technologies (SD-WAN), NetRounds (Assurance) and Apstra (Intent-Based Networking).
- Juniper, long known as a best-in-class service provider company, has now balanced the business with a strong enterprise business.
- Juniper guidance for next quarter: Revenues grow 5%.
- Extreme posted quarterly revenues of $253M, which is up a whopping 21% year over year, putting it on a run rate of over $1B.
- Extreme’s transformation was also driven by a number of key acquisitions, including Zebra WiFi, Avaya Networking (campus/fabric), Brocade (data center/fabric) and Aerohive (WiFi). Aerohive was relatively small but brought Extreme an industry-leading cloud management platform, enabling the company to tie all of its products under a single cloud platform.
- Extreme has an excellent network solution, particularly in the area of high-performance WiFi. The companies products are used in some of the most demanding environments including stadiums and higher education.
- During this quarter, Extreme was named the Official WiFi solutions provider of Major League Baseball.
- This was Extreme’s fifth consecutive quarter of growth.
- Despite the strong quarters, there was some caution issued by both companies because of the current chip shortage.
Avaya announces new AI workflow capabilities for cloud contact center
- Avaya, market leader in contact centers, announced some new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for its OneCloud CCaaS solution.
- AI has been on the roadmap of all CCaaS vendors, but Avaya is taking a multi-faceted approach. Customers can still buy fully integrated products but also offer composable solutions for custom use cases.
- Customers can compose and modify applications for hybrid cloud deployments using a single, visual user interface.
- Developers can leverage pluggable, pre-built, bring or create your own AI, with multilingual Virtual Agent, Chatbot, and Agent Assist capabilities and OOTB integrationsv that include Google Dialogflow, Microsoft LUIS, IBM Watson and Alexa Skills Kit.
- Avaya also offers a low code / no-code interface for rapid and flexible integrations.
- In just a few years, Avaya has aggressively transformed itself from a company that relies heavily on on-premises equipment sales to one that leads with the cloud.