Cloud computing is another major area that could be impacted by this merger. Because of VMware’s strength in the compute virtualization market, it is turning into an important vendor in building private cloud management software – with a product named vCenter. Perhaps there could be combined hardware/software offerings in this market too.
Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller wonders what will happen on the public cloud side though. Dell scrapped its plans to build a public cloud a few years ago, deciding instead to specialize in helping customers manage multiple clouds (Dell bought the company Enstratius, which it turned into Dell Cloud Manager).
Meanwhile, VMware has built its vCloud Air public cloud. The question becomes: Will Dell support VMware building out its vCloudAir public cloud, or will Dell push VMware to embrace its multi-cloud management toolset?
“The key will be that the new Dell can play on both sides of the spectrum - on premises and selling to cloud providers, something that VMware was very good at,” Mueller says. “But the question ultimately is can Dell create its own (public) cloud infrastructure?”
O’Donnell, the Forrester analyst, says Dell could look to expand its role in the networking market thanks to the merger. VMware’s NSX product is one of the leading software defined networking products – although it still trails Cisco’s offering. “This merger could help position Dell much more strongly in the networking space,” he says.
All of these potential combinations of Dell and VMware will have to be worked out carefully. VMware will want to balance its independence; Dell may want to integrate its hardware products into VMware sales. “In terms of what VMware customers will get from the Dell ownership, I think that the opportunity for Dell is to vastly simplify the whole infrastructure/IT procurement and management process,” says Robinson. “Some customers are going to buy into that, but not all of them.”
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