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After reading yet another assertion in the tech media that BMC was "old school" in regards to the new and wonderful world of virtualization/cloud, I decided that I needed to respond. This reminds me a lot of the current Republican primary campaign. If Gingrich can accuse Romney of being a rich snob often enough, or Romney vigorously accuse Gingrich of being a wild and crazy guy, those associations might just stick. Regardless of your political leanings, I am sure you can admit to the somewhat amusing, but also disturbing, ability of scuttlebutt and unfounded accusations to label as well as, or even better than, the truth. So, I am have taken it upon myself to strike out in the name of rational product comparisons, not school-boy declarations that BMC is long in the tooth.

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1. First of all, when is company age even relevant? Yes, BMC is 30 years old. Apple, Inc. is 35! Clearly, the age of a company is irrelevant. What matters is what they have done lately!

 

2. Second - look under the covers! Most large software companies have brought in talent through acquisitions. BMC acquired companies like Marimba, RealOps, ProactiveNet, BladeLogic, GridApp, and Coradiant to bring in new ideas, talent, and solutions. That is good business practice. As a point in fact, the virtualization vendors (usually the "new school" to BMC's "old school") are no different, . VMware inherited the Configuresoft acquisition from EMC, which bought the ten-year old company in 2009. That is two years older than BladeLogic. Redhat purchased companies like JBoss, Makara, and Gluster. Citrix acquired companies like Xensource and VMLogix. All were arguably good business decisions. It does however make the "old school" moniker look odd.

 

3. Third - is BMC keeping up? When you boil down the current arguments where "old school" comes up, you inevitably find the core argument that cloud and virtualization have made previous management software irrelevant. I don't deny that cloud and virtualization are changing the way we look at IT. In fact, I would argue that most big developments in IT have generated new requirements that software management vendors either respond to, or they don't. And not responding means increasing irrelevance. However, the implicit assumption that BMC hasn't kept up with the trend doesn't bear out in fact. BMC's BladeLogic and ProactiveNet suites have the broadest virtualization support in the industry. BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management is an industry leading solution for private, public, and hybrid clouds. Customers can decide for themselves what solutions meet their requirements best - but don't let facile arguments take away from a productive, competitive discussion.

 

4. Finally, has virtualization really changed the field that much? I am a big fan of virtualization, and I embrace cloud computing as the best driver towards automation that I have seen in the last decade. However, I find the argument that virtualization requires a fundamental break with the past to be amusing at best, generally uninformed, and purposely misleading at worst. VIRTUALIZATION IS INFRASTRUCTURE. When did we forget that? Virtualization and cloud do amazing things to make more efficient and dynamic use of compute power and data center space. That doesn't mean that the core IT management imperatives have fundamentally altered. I still need to manage devices and the software on them - be they physical or virtual. I still need to maintain my SLAs and reduce downtime. I still have to be compliant with security and regulatory policies. I still need to push my application updates consistently and quickly. Virtualization and cloud have changed the pace, and introduced some new rules, but the rules of the game haven't changed, we just have more pieces to play.

 

 

So, after all these points, shouldn't the important questions be "does it do what it says it does?" and "does it accomplish my goals?", and, when comparing to another product, "does it do it better, cheaper, and/or faster?"? Most importantly - "does this product enable me to meet my business objectives?".

 

My challenge to the media and the vendor community - let's do everyone, particularly customers with real needs, a big favor, and compare products on what actually matters to users, and not resort to weak labels like "old school".