Oracle and Cisco may change the landscape in the data center if the companies continue to pursue their current tracks, according to most pundits, and we agree.
Oracle is already the giant of middleware, broader there even than IBM and more focused on making software the premier offering. The Oracle approach to IT is to create a brand around software and middleware, adding hardware to reap the maximum benefit from the sale, but focusing on software (especially middleware) for differentiation.
Cisco wants to ride virtualization and connectivity in the data center, and collaborative applications that link employees, into a dominant position. Cisco’s theory is that owning collaboration could give the company a foot into every application door because collaboration is the broadest of all horizontal applications.
Both companies face competition from incumbent giants IBM and HP, and the big question for 2010 is whether the competition among this group of four will create enough market buzz to build buyer literacy and interest levels enough to create a new technology buying cycle. We’re doubtful that competition alone can do it because competition typically focuses on differentiation rather than project justification. But we’ll have a better idea next month when we complete our enterprise fall planning survey.