Andrew Carnegie built US Steel using vertical integration to maximize efficiency and sideline competition. President Theodore Roosevelt concluded that Wall Street financiers and industry titans (like Carnegie) were more interested in serving themselves than their customers, and worked tirelessly to "bust" up these corporations. A century later we're still hearing the echoes.
In Singapore this week I've been talking with the APAC team and some of our top channel partners. My last blog was about a unified future, where backup is delivered as a platform and not a point product, and the feedback from this trip ties in.
This week EMC let slip plans to integrate Avamar deduplication and backup technology into VMware, raising concerns about vertical integration and vendor lock-in. Joe Kovar's article forewarns a "nerd riot" amongst technlogy partners as this formerly independent business is roped more and more closely to its storage behemoth parent. It's the latest example in the string of vendors moving to build their own vertically integrated hardware/software stacks.
I expect Dell to forge ahead here even more urgently as slow storage growth drags on their earnings. Microsoft is preparing a massive launch for Windows 2012, releasing an integrated operating system, hypervisor and data protection stack.
Customers in Asia are watching closely as these integrations coalesce, and noting that Symantec's independent status is a very interesting strategic proposition for their businesses. Waking up one morning to discover all of your data at the mercy of a vendor who has a new agenda driven by their latest aquisition or integation could seriously impact an IT admin or channel partner's strategy.
We stand independently for data management. Not hardware, not operating system, not hypervisor, not bolted-on features from outside. Best-of-breed data protection that's focused on your data, not an earnings statement.
Is it acceptable to commit your business to a single vendor or does that give you pause? Are you a robber baron or a trustbuster?