Lots of people smarter than me will certainly have smarter things to say about Meg Whitman’s tenure at HP/HPE, but here are my 2 cents on her forthcoming resignation
: HPE is a company seemingly without vision, content to advocate for the status quo while the world moves on around it. Earnings have outperformed expectations the past couple quarters and HPE still generates tens of billions in annual revenue, but the company is all but absent from discussions about the real future of IT.
I’m not certain any of this makes Whitman an unsuccessful CEO (she didn’t exactly inherit Amazon Web Services, and revenue can trump vision in public companies), but I don’t think she’ll be inducted into the enterprise CEO hall of fame (if such a thing existed, it would make for a very sad museum experience). Even while people love to dump on HPE’s erstwhile rival IBM, the latter is actively expanding its cloud computing business
and actually doing meaningful work in areas such as quantum computing, blockchain, serverless computing and deep learning
. You can knock how IBM marketed Watson, but you can’t deny the company is looking toward the future.
HPE, not so much – although it did spend nearly $2 billion on storage acquisitions
this year. That could be good for the bottom line, even if it won’t have the company anywhere near top of mind in discussions about the most-important or influential companies in IT. But then again, analysts, reporters, and developers searching for the next big thing or jumping at every shiny thing they see have different priorities than CIOs or major shareholders. So take my opinions on this with a grain of salt.
Here are the four ARCHITECHT newsletters from this year where HPE made the subject line:
And speaking of the future of IT, Tuesday brought the launch of two new Kubernetes/microservices platforms and one new company:
If you ask me, the latter is much more interesting, mostly because it comes from a large bank running microservices at scale rather than a modestly funded startup. The obvious option would be for Capital One to make the Critical Stack technology open source like what Walmart Labs does with its infrastructure efforts, but the article almost makes it sound like the bank might instead look to productize the platform. That could be a lucrative decision because of the space it’s playing in – microservices, security and cloud – and also because we’ve seen before how large users can eventually turn into large vendors, as well (see, e.g., AWS and Google).
As they start modernizing IT practices around containers, I think a lot of companies (probably not in banking, though) would look very seriously at something like Critical Stack, mostly because it was put through the wringer at a large bank.
Finally, this last item hit as I was writing, but it seemed worth including up top:
Basically, Microsoft announced two new Azure services to make it easier to run VMware instances and migrate them to Microsoft’s cloud. Make of that what you will; I’ll just note that it seems more like a swing at AWS than at VMware. For what it’s worth, here’s my analysis of AWS’s big VMware partnership deal from August: “But does AWS really need VMware?