What the Dell 3Par deal means to the datacenter

Does the "one stop shopping" experience make sense to the datacenter buyer?

For a long time there has been an ongoing argument of heterogeneous or homogeneous; the choices and advantages provided form the laundry list of vendors and services versus the "single throat to choke" benefits of single vendor package deals. Well it really seems that that argument has died out with a whimper, as the standards bearers of the "free choice" model have migrated into the single vendor camp.

While the 3Par acquisition by Dell is being marketed as an attempt by Dell to diversify their product offerings, to the customer it means the reduction of choices in the enterprise datacenter market. Oh, there are still plenty of individual vendor choices out there, but smaller vendors are aligning themselves to be acquired by the big guns or offering up their products in pre-packaged bundles to go along with the offerings from those front-line vendors.

The days of the independent point product are rapidly coming to an end. Converged infrastructure solutions are the rallying cry of the datacenter vendor for the immediate future, and the top tier vendors are rapidly expanding their product lines, either through acquisitions or bundling deals, to enable their solutions to fit every class of customer, especially in the datacenter.

Fortunately, these aren't "one size fits all" solutions. The vendors are carefully able to craft their offerings to be a good fit for their customer base.  But it's still a situation of what they have that best fits your needs in their portfolio, and not necessarily offering best of breed solutions to customer problems.

The door isn't closed on point solution vendors yet, though it's beginning to reek of the 1990's with technology startups that really seem to exist solely for their exit strategy of being acquired by a larger company who can use their specific technology in their own portfolio. So innovation continues, and there is still going to be lots of competition between vendors in the converged infrastructure space that will drive innovation up and prices down.

When you consider the top server vendors in the US; IBM, HP, and Dell, all of them want to be your one stop shop for all of your computing needs, not just in the datacenter, but with HP and Dell, the desktop and even the phone in your pocket seem to be on their radar.  This isn't the consumer computer market; corporate computing can find compelling reasons for single vendor solutions, and these vendors know that and are attempting to make that the most compelling choice for corporate buyers.

 The question then becomes, is it compelling enough for you?  Does it make you uneasy, or are you relieved by this concentration of computing specialties? Or do you long for the days of "No one ever got fired for buying IBM."