Today's announcement by Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft is a good example. The two tech giants announced a partnership today that is valued at $250 million.
Why are these ventures getting such an influx of revenue? If content is king, then infrastructure is the castle in the cloud.
Castles cost a lot to build and so does a cloud service. The Microsoft-HP deal is a case in point. The two companies are building a cloud infrastructure that spans hardware and software integration. They are developing their own applications. It's like an effort to build a massive data center network that works as one giant computer.
The investment includes the use of HP servers for Azure, the cloud platform developed by Microsoft. In return, Microsoft software, database programs and other applications will be loaded on the HP machines.
Both companies want to own the enterprise. It's apparent that the two feel this can only be done by having a deep cloud-based infrastructure that bundles a full suite of software and tools to optimize systems for business customers.
Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOm makes an excellent point in asking if optimization is the new code word for proprietary systems. There's a danger in that for customers as it can lead to vendor lock-in.
But Microsoft and HP obviously see a need to form their own partnership to compete with the likes of Cisco, which has a deal with VMWare. Oracle, for its part, is still waiting for approval on its deal with Sun Microsystems.
Enterprise customers should be wary of these mega deals. The castle in the cloud may look nice but the enterprise customer may find itself in the dungeon if it makes too heavy an investment in proprietary systems that lock them into specific vendors.