I am not sure why, but at DSA we just feel compelled to future gaze as we hit each new year. If you look at the DSA tech predictions for previous years, you will know that we have a touch of the "Nostradamus" about us when we come to calling out the future.
OK we missed Dell EMC a couple of years ago, but in 2018 we did correctly call Tintri getting bought, and that Nutanix would go on the acquisition trail.
So, whilst patting ourselves on the back for getting a few predictions right last year, take note, given our track record, it is likely that at least one of our foresights below will come to be!
Pure Storage and Nutanix to Merge
Pure Storage set out with a game plan to disrupt the EMC marketplace. EMC realised the future was converging and the days of a pure play storage player were limited. In an age of digital transformation, being a storage player alone is unlikely to be enough. Pure Storage will need to find a way to be more relevant in the enterprise. At the same time, in the HCI space, having independently scalable storage is proving to be a critical element in meeting enterprise needs. Look at NetApp's HCI strategy, and it plays to the storage pedigree. As the big boys like Dell and EMC merge and converge the server and storage markets, it's looking like Pure and Nutanix combined could give the big players a run for their money.
Commvault to Acquire Rubrik
Whilst Commvault is still fighting hard to turn a corner and increasing its cloud and "as-a-Service” revenues, it is difficult to see where the company is heading. In essence, it's still a backup company with a traditional approach to backup and data protection. Those in charge have tried hard to position Commvault as a data management solutions company, but that’s a hard marketplace for a backup company to truly dominate. The reality is that the technologies companies use for backup are changing rapidly and Commvault will not be able to develop products fast enough to keep pace with the rapid change. Rubrik is arguably leading the way in transforming the future of backup – A match made in heaven? We think so!
Iron Mountain to go Shopping for a Backup or DR Company
Iron Mountain is a company that made its money collecting and storing companies' backup tapes off-site. They still make a lot of money doing that today, but that’s a market that is only going to decline as the years go by. They have been investing in building data centres, so investing in a "data moving" technology seems to be a logical step. Instead of transporting tapes, they could move to simply providing off-site, as-a-service backup and archive offerings. Look out Commvault, Veeam or Arcserve; you could be in the sights of the Iron Mountain M&A team.
Microsoft to Acquire the Cloudera/Hortonworks Merged Company
Cloudera and Hortonworks have a hard time ahead. Big data technologies are evolving fast. Companies are finding new ways to develop big data projects and very often they are spun up in the cloud. At the same time, Microsoft's long-term cloud competitors are all developing impressive big data and AI offerings. Taking over the two key players that have advanced Apache projects like Hadoop will enable Microsoft to claim the big data space and enhance ready to consume Big Data services on Azure.
FalconStor to be Acquired
FalconStor has been having a tough time ever since its heydays of VTL. The company has tried to jump on the software-defined storage bandwagon, but in our view, the market doesn’t need a pure play, software only/software-defined storage offering. In addition, to do that successfully requires massive R&D to cover every major storage array and HCI offering. Given their shrinking revenues, we don't see them having the scale to make the strategy work. We like the company but don't see a future and despite their best efforts to stabilise, they are too small to effectively create a market where they are up against some of the most powerful players in the industry. Look for FalconStor to be acquired or perhaps pivot and become a small global systems integrator rather than a vendor.