As the press releases for the latest generation of blade servers, high-performance datacenter servers, and big database servers begin coming across my desk, spurred on by the release of Intel's 5600 series processors I'm beginning to wonder about the marketing efforts of these vendors.
All of the press releases lead with basically the same information, and the sad part is, the benefits that they are announcing at the top of their releases all derive from the new CPUs. This means that all of the products begin to look alike very quickly. So why do the vendors take this approach?
At this point in the evolution of the datacenter I find it very difficult to believe that anyone doing serious purchasing looks first at the "speeds and feeds" data. When I talk to IT folks with datacenter responsibilities, server performance is brought up only if it is the issue at hand. That is, if the discussion relates to an application that is traditionally processor or memory bound.
From their perspective the concern isn't over the latest processor; they are interested in the new releases and the performance promise they offer, but they are well aware that every major vendor will be releasing hardware that incorporates it. The bottom line is that they are looking at the entire package; there is very little interest in implementing every new technology as it first appears, regardless of vendor. Every existing datacenter has already made an investment in IT infrastructure; while they may be looking to upgrade that infrastructure, they aren't basing their buying decisions on vendor support for the latest CPU.
While piecemeal upgrades and mixed vendors haven't been too unusual over the years, the effort being expended in creating greener datacenters means that IT really is looking at their datacenters as a whole, and understand that it is both more, and less, than the sum of its parts, a difference dependant on the proper implementation of the right technologies.
And when you continue reading those same vendor press releases that announce the introduction of their new Intel-powered hardware, you begin to find the information that datacenter IT really needs; the information about the way these new products fit into the infrastructure solutions that datacenters require.
This really makes me wonder who these vendors are marketing to. Do they really expect their customers to wade through the pile of press releases searching for the information they need? Are they just waiting for the media and bloggers to regurgitate the press releases back to their readers, fishing out the important chunks as their market segment readers see it?
Frankly, my clients and I want to see information presented to us that the corporate datacenter buyer really needs; lead with how the new products will allow me to improve my business, give me your perspective on what the advantages are of adopting your infrastructure concepts or solutions, and then give me links to the hard-core technical information. I'll make sure that the right person in my organization sees the appropriate info; after all, that's my job. You're job is to attract my attention.