Startup ideas tend to come in waves.
Generally (but not always! the ultimate winner tends to be one of the early entrants so I'm always alert for emerging trends. One of the latest trends I see is of tighter coupling between application and data - streamlined access to all sources of data whether on the network or storage. This holds true for both virtualized and high performance applications – at least so far!
I'm still connecting the dots to see how the trend matures, but it got me thinking about Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
Given Cisco's entry into the server world and with their sights so obviously set on the Data Center, did Oracle acquire SUN to stop Cisco getting it's hands on software like MySQL and Linux?
If the trend for tighter integration between application and data continues, new leaders could emerge in both the virtualized and high performance spaces. The odds favor an incumbent vendor like a Cisco or Oracle moving into an adjacent segment and extending their dominance – however, a startup has a chance assuming it can leverage agility, deliver overwhelming benefits and overcome the enterprise manta of "I don't buy from startups".
For Cisco to extend its dominance, it needs to leverage its ability to develop solutions that benefit from tighter integration with the network – the ultimate source of all data whether from remote locations or storage (memory or disk). It doesn't take too much imagination to see the benefits that could have extended from taking MySQL, a stable Linux implementation plus a lot of networking/high performance know-how to build a killer data center solution.
Ironically, several of the early stage companies I work with have migrated away from MySQL because of changes the SUN made to the license agreement. PostgresSQL emerged as a very viable alternative for many of these companies. Perhaps this is a viable alternative for Cisco – time will tell!
If I'm right about the trend, Oracle will need to extend it solution set by acquiring substantial networking experience – just as Cisco still needs to get higher level software and expertise.
Assuming this is a trend and not a line drawn between two data points, the future M&A market for startups in this space could be very lucrative!
We will see!
[Apologies if you saw an incomplete version of this post earlier! Finger trouble with the iPhone TypePad application on my part!]