Susan Davis, Egenera's VP of Marketing, and I had an interesting discussion of the company's plans to release its Egenera® PAN Manager™ software on other hardware platforms. Over the years, Susan and I have had many conversations about the company and its products.In my view, Egenera's early efforts at producing blade computers and the software that made them work as a single computing resource are an important foundation for much of the technology in this area. Until now, the company restricted its market by making this innovative software only available on its own systems. Egenera has finally decided that its software could be an important revenue generator and is releasing it on other vendor's hardware.
Here's how the company describes its announcement:
Egenera Inc. announced today that it will make Egenera® PAN Manager™ software available on other vendors' hardware platforms as part of its new software business. PAN Manager delivers Data Center Virtualization by combining server virtualization with network and storage virtualization to transform IT infrastructure into flexible, scalable assets that can be allocated as needed - resulting in rapid time to market, dynamic scalability and cost-effective high availability. Announcements regarding specific third-party platforms and availability will be made separately. Egenera will continue to innovate and advance the highly successful Egenera® BladeFrame® product line, featuring high-performance, integrated solutions designed for business and mission critical computing. The BladeFrame system will continue to be focused on the high end of the application set where the need for performance and availability are most critical. Egenera PAN Manager software complements widely-deployed server virtualization (hypervisor) solutions by delivering full infrastructure virtualization that provides:
- Simple and seamless provisioning and management for both physical and virtual servers, virtual networks and storage;
- Cost effective high availability through Egenera's patented N+1 availability technology;
- Verifiable disaster recovery through Egenera's patented N+1 DR technology;
- Simple right sizing and scalability through dynamic repurposing; and
- Effective chargeback capabilities, logical, secure partitioning, and named pools of resources.
Egenera has long offered the tools to make a blade computing system act a great deal like a single symmetric mulitprocessing computer. The system's workload could be orchestrated to make the best possible use of the available hardware and respond to planned and unplanned outages. Although this software was very powerful, it relied upon the features of Egenera's own systems to work. This meant that companies who had selected another vendor's hardware could not deploy Egenera's PAN Manager regardless of well the product's features and strengths fit their requirements.
If we look at reports laying out the revenues and shipments of blade computing systems, it would be easy to see that this choice meant that PAN Manager was unavailable to a major portion of the market. Making this software available on other platforms certainly broadens the opportunites Egenera can address.
This move also means that Egenera now faces competition from companies such as, Cassatt, Scalent Systems, PlateSpin, and others offering management products for virtualized resources. It also means that the company can no longer rely on special purpose prioprietary hardware to increase application performance and reliability and must wade into a sea of products from suppliers of many other suppliers. The price for addressing a larger market is dealing with a larger array of options.
Although the technical challenges are daunting, helping CIOs and IT decision-makers become aware of Egenera, its products, and how those products can help just may be a bigger challenge. We'll all have to watch to see how the company will get its messages out to the market.