Microsoft and storage appliance vendor NetApp to day announced a three year collaboration agreement:
Under the new agreement, the two companies will collaborate and deliver technology solutions that span virtualization, private cloud computing, and storage and data management, enabling customers to increase datacenter management efficiencies, reduce costs and improve business agility.
As part of the new strategic alliance agreement, NetApp and Microsoft will expand product collaboration and technical integration activities, including the following areas:
• Virtualized infrastructure solutions based on Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center and NetApp storage systems. These solutions can provide reliable data availability and streamlined data management, and can help maximize server and storage utilization by using 50 percent less storage compared to a baseline of traditional storage.
• Storage and data management solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft SQL Server that improve communications and collaboration, enable faster, better-informed decision-making, and greatly accelerate software development and testing.
• Efficient and flexible cloud computing and hosted services solutions that provide integrated data protection, “always on” data access, and a flexible, cost-effective infrastructure.
In addition, NetApp and Microsoft will enable customers to experience firsthand the value of joint solutions at the Microsoft Technology Centers around the world and at industry events. Both companies will participate in engagements with channel partners and industry-leading systems integrators, offering technology solutions that are comprehensive and easy to use.
It is a non-exclusive deal so both parties will have other irons in the fire, but it is a natural match since NetApp specializes in file system based storage appliances (as opposed to raw block disk storage) and who loves their own files systems better than Microsoft? The agreement undoubtedly helps NetApp compete with the raw storage providers like EMC and presumably Microsoft gets a boost competing with VMware.
Over the weekend, I mentioned a NY Times profile of Microsoft virtualization software competitor, VMware, that seemed laden with “Microsoft is an unfair competitor” rhetoric. Today comes word that VMware has published a whitepaper on their website that could well be titled “J’accuse” which details Microsoft’s anti-competitive licensing and distribution practices related to virtualization. Most of what is mentioned is familiar to those who follow the industry, but having them lay out the 7 accusations so concisely makes one wonder when the next shoe will drop. As Mary Jo Foley remarks:
My biggest question, after reading The Times story and the VMware white paper is when will VMware file a lawsuit? It sounds like VMWare — in spite of its 80 percent virtualization market share — is gearing up to lodge one heck of an antitrust complaint against Microsoft. (I wonder if VMWare parent EMC Corp. is really up for that kind of move. Maybe.)
Presumably VMware isn’t marshalling their arguments for the exercise, so what will it be – lawsuits or complaints to the various antitrust watchdogs or both?
Five months after Red Hat snatched JBoss from under the Oracle’s nose, his company has struck back with a service and support package designed to gut Red Hat like a fish.
Dressed in the guise of promoting adoption of Linux in mission-critical environments, Ellison today at Oracle Openworld, announced three-tiered support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 3 and 4 starting at $99 per system per year. It’s not necessary for Red Hat customers to be running Oracle products.
Barely able to suppress excited giggling, Ellison claimed Oracle would undercut Red Hat by up to 60 per cent. Oracle middleware and application users on Red Hat and switching in the next 90 days get Oracle’s support for an additional 50 per cent off.
This could hurt Red Hat, a company that looks to support and maintenance for the bulk of its revenues.
“We want to make all the Linux better,” Ellison said. “The better Linux gets the more successful we will be.” He confirmed Oracle would “absolutely” deliver an entire open source stack running from operating system to applications.
If that seems a little over the top, check out the Oracle press release via Steve Hamm at BusinessWeek Online:
Today Oracle announced that it would provide the same enterprise class support for Linux as it provides for its database, middleware and applications products. Oracle starts with Red Hat Linux, removes Red Hat trademarks, and then adds Linux bug fixes.
Currently, Red Hat only provides bug fixes for the latest version of its software. This often requires customers to upgrade to a new version of Linux software to get a bug fixed. Oracle’s new Unbreakable Linux program will provide bug fixes to future, current, and back releases of Linux. In other words, Oracle will provide the same level of enterprise support for Linux as is available for other operating systems.
Oracle is offering its Unbreakable Linux program for substantially less than Red Hat currently charges for its best support. “We believe that better support and lower support prices will speed the adoption of Linux, and we are working closely with our partners to make that happen,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Intel is a development partner. Dell and HP are resellers and support partners. Many others are signed up to help us move Linux up to mission critical status in the data center.”
And that brings us to the big boy part of the story as described by Michael Kahn and Eric Auchard at Reuters:
The news was met with a flood of endorsements from Oracle’s closest technology partners, including Intel Corp., Dell Inc. and EMC Corp. International Business Machines Corp., a major rival in database and middleware software, also signaled its support for the move.
Now I don’t follow the daily doings in the commercialized Linux market, but Red Hat certainly seems to be short on friends. I also wonder what Oracle has after Red Hat goes casters up – maybe they plan to buy it cheap? In any case, Red Hat’s share price went in the tank after this was announced.
So what’s the Microsoft hook? Just what you’d expect:
Apart from the impact on Red Hat, the move is significant for Oracle because it can now supply not only databases and applications but also an underlying operating system, giving it what the industry calls a complete “software stack.”
Analysts also see it as an important counter-balance to the Windows operating system of Microsoft Corp., Oracle’s main rival.
It looks like Mr. Ellison got himself an operating system in a typically odd Ellison way.
Here’s one that slipped under the radar last week – Microsoft and EMC teamed up for a new Enterprise Content Management alliance where Microsoft Office software will serve as a front end to EMC’s ECM offerings:
EMC will bring to market new solutions that seamlessly integrate the EMC Documentum platform with multiple Microsoft solutions and platform technologies including Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, SQL Server™ 2005 and enterprise search solutions. Microsoft provides content management capabilities in SharePoint Server 2007 today. With this new alliance SharePoint users can take advantage of the advanced ECM capabilities of the Documentum platform. Information workers will be able to access the Documentum platform natively from within Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the Microsoft Office system, enabling users to leverage the power of the Documentum platform in areas such as advanced records management, business process management, imaging and rich media from their preferred Microsoft applications.
China Martens at InfoWorld makes the point that the Microsoft Office serving as a front end to third party software is now a familiar refrain:
If that sounds strangely familiar, it’s because that is the same strategy Microsoft is adopting with SAP around the “Duet” product, said Rob Bernard, general manager of Microsoft’s global independent software vendor team.
And EMC and SAP won’t be the only vendors to get hooks into Office, Bernard said.
“Overall, we are seeing all of the major ECM vendors actively building tight links into desktop tools like Outlook and partnering aggressively with Microsoft,” said Melissa Webster, program director, content and digital media technologies at IDC. Vendors of all stripes are beginning to collaborate to make it much easier for users to have full, unimpeded access to enterprise applications from their familiar desktop productivity software, she said.
We previously mentioned Duet (AKA Project Mendocino) here.