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July 24, 2008

Microsoft tries enterprise hardware with DATAllegro purchase

Posted by David Hunter at 5:25 PM ET.

DATAllegro logo Microsoft apparently wants to try its hand at enterprise hardware since today it announced the acquisition of data warehousing appliance vendor DATAllegro for an undisclosed sum:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that it intends to acquire DATAllegro Inc., a provider of breakthrough data warehouse appliances. The acquisition will extend the capabilities of Microsoft’s mission-critical data platform, making it easier and more cost-effective for customers of all sizes to manage and glean insight from the ever-expanding amount of data generated by and for businesses, employees and consumers.

“Integrating DATAllegro’s nonproprietary hardware platform and flexible software architecture into Microsoft SQL Server will provide customers with the strongest offering in the market,” said Stuart Frost, CEO of DATAllegro. “We are excited to join forces with Microsoft and continue the innovation this company was founded on.”

Unlike most data warehouse appliance vendors targeting the 1–25 terabyte range, DATAllegro has specialized in large-volume, high-performance data warehouses. DATAllegro’s data warehouse appliance installations boast some of the largest data volume capacities in the industry — up to hundreds of terabytes on a single system. DATAllegro clients span such markets as retail, telecommunications and manufacturing.

DATAllegro’s boxes are lash-ups of Dell server hardware running Linux, EMC storage, and Cisco switches providing a customized version of the Ingres open source database which isn’t a bad way to go if you are going to do hardware. However, Microsoft intends to put their own stamp on things:

As soon as the acquisition closes, we’ll start the work of moving our technology from Ingres & Linux to SQL Server and Windows. Our feasibility studies over the last few months indicate that SQL Server is a significant improvement in terms of performance – especially in key areas such as star joins, I/O throughput and in-memory operations. The engineering team here at DATAllegro is VERY excited about the next version of the product.

Current customers will be supported, but I wonder whether the sales team will have anything to sell before the Microsoft version is done.

In any case, the big picture is that Microsoft feels that commoditization in the data warehousing business is such that they have to have their own proprietary data warehousing hardware even if they have some work ahead to make it fit.

Filed under Acquisitions, Commoditization, Microsoft, SQL Server, Servers

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March 2, 2008

Microsoft to place big bet on Web apps?

Posted by David Hunter at 9:08 PM ET.

Nicholas Carr is providing this weekend’s Microsoft buzz with a rumor that Microsoft is getting ready to roll out a Web apps strategy if not necessarily any actual apps:

Put your ears to the ground, my friends, for the Beast of Redmond may be stirring. I’ve heard that Microsoft has begun briefing its large enterprise clients on an expansive and detailed strategy for moving its software business into the cloud. If the report proves correct – and I make no guarantees – the company will unveil the strategy to the public either next week or the week after.

The new strategy will, I’m told, lay out a roadmap of moves across three major areas: the transformation of the company’s portfolio of enterprise applications to a web-services architecture, the launch of web versions of its major PC applications, and the continued expansion of its data center network.

And in the latter regard, Carr has a double header – Rumor: Microsoft set for vast data-center push:

I’ve received a few more hints about the big cloud-computing initiative Microsoft may be about to announce, perhaps during the company’s Mix08 conference in Las Vegas this coming week. One of the cornerstones of the strategy, I’ve heard, will be an aggressive acceleration of the company’s investment in its data center network. The construction program will be “totally over the top,” said a person briefed on the plan. The first phase of the buildout, said the source, will include the construction of about two dozen data centers around the world, each covering about 500,000 square feet or more. The timing of the construction is unclear.

You can’t have a good cloud strategy without plenty of capex, of course, but what with the Yahoo acquisition this seems like a fairly stressful time to be raiding the piggy bank. It’s a good thing Microsoft has all those old-fashioned operating systems and offline applications to foot all these bills.

Less snarkily, if these rumors pan out, it will be interesting indeed to see how Microsoft manages to finesse “software plus services” to avoid killing the cash cows while simultaneously avoiding owning some large buildings stuffed with unused computers. And no, I won’t complain about all the times Microsoft disparaged Web apps.

Related: Michael Arrington reports a rumor that Microsoft may also be announcing at Mix08 an offline version of Silverlight to compete with Adobe Air for the Rich (and occasionally offline) Internet Application business.

Filed under Adobe, Commoditization, Conferences, Coopetition, Financial, General Business, MIX08, Microsoft, Online Services, Real Estate, Silverlight

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October 1, 2007

Adobe gets into the online office app scramble

Posted by David Hunter at 11:30 AM ET.

Coincident with Microsoft’s announcement today responding to all the online Web office application bustle, Adobe jumped into the game by announcing the acquisition of Virtual Ubiquity, a vendor with an online word processing application conveniently built on Adobe RIA tooling, and also announced an online file sharing service.


Filed under Adobe, Commoditization, Coopetition, Microsoft, Office, Word

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September 13, 2007

Sun signs up to be Windows Server OEM

Posted by David Hunter at 9:24 AM ET.

I guess snowballs are now safe in Hell. Yesterday, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems announced that Sun is now a Windows Server OEM for their x64 systems with Windows Server 2003 R2 to be available preinstalled within 90 days. It’s no surprise that Wintel commoditization is hitting the server market and squeezing the proprietary vendors – the real question is why Sun chose this point in time to embrace Wintel. Peter Burrows at Business Week offers some theories, but the only one that strikes a chord with me is that Sun views it as an opportunity to spread their hardware fixed costs over bigger volume with perhaps a bit of comfort for customers that buying from Sun doesn’t lock them into an evolutionary dead end.

Anyhow, according to the PR, it is all an expansion of the Microsoft-Sun settlement/alliance announced in April 2004 and included these other talking points:


Filed under Alliances, Commoditization, Coopetition, Microsoft, OS - Server, Sun, Windows Server 2003 R2

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