I've gotten some feedback from some of my comments in my post HP to resell Scalent System’s V/OE. One of the more interesting of these came from Susan Davis, VP of Marketing at Egenera. Her comments can be found here: Susan and I have been speaking with one another for years and I have a high regard for her opinion.
The points Susan Davis makes are:
- Egenera has years of experience creating, selling and supporting blade computing systems, related virtualization technology and management software. In some cases, Egenera was the first to offer an important feature or capability that has increasingly become part of everyone's solutions.
- Egenera can present a large number of customer references while some of the competitive solutions, including those offered by Scalent, can't offer the same.
- Egenera has a broad array of partnerships and alliances.
- While Scalent presents Egenera as one of its biggest competitors, Egenera believes that its compeition is major systems suppliers rather than emerging software suppliers.
- Egenera's approach to marketing and creating partnerships and alliances is based upon a broad global perspective.
Those points are well taken and can be seen as an indicator of the company's present level of success. That being said, I think that it is always wise for companies to understand that innovative solutions in the area of virtualization technology, including software that can manage and orchestrate virtualized computing environments, are likely to challenge the products of established suppliers by either being less costly, less complex or by not being tied to a specific vendor's systems.
As Clayton Christensen pointed out in his book, The Innovator's Dilemma, competitors may come from unexpected quarters and offer technology that is good enough to get people's attention, but is lower in cost or complexity than better established solutions. This can surprise established suppliers.
Suppliers of established solutions always face the challenge of finding ways to incrementally improve excellent products and reduce the overall cost to their customers. Time-tested architectures may work quite well but may or may not allow the inclusion of new approaches or technology. They must also find ways to accomplish the difficult task of extending the capabilities of their products without upsetting their current customers or destroying their current stream of revenue.
The non-traditional competitors, on the other hand, don't have the heavy burden of a large installed base of customers that are demanding new features that enhance but do not disrupt their computing environments. This gives the newcomers the opportunity to play by a different set of rules while winning new business.
I had no intention of belittling the success of Egenera. I believe that their technology has quite a number of benefits. Some of which the market as a whole still does not fully understand. I am, on the other hand, trying to point out companies offering innovative technology regardless of whether they are traditional or non-traditional competitors.