CEO Bob Beauchamp talks trends in data centers and IT management.
Data centers are where the action is for a lot of IT shops these days, and BMC is in the middle of it.
BMC is one of the big four of IT systems management, with CA, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, whose software is used to monitor and automate data centers. As data centers get even more critical to companies' operations, and soak up bigger chunks of budget, CIOs need to run them better and cheaper. Cloud computing ramps up the pressure, forcing IT to also monitor services from a third party's data center.
With that backdrop, I spoke with BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp recently on some of the key forces in the IT management market.
On rogue clouds:
BMC sees opportunity when there's data center complexity. So cloud computing is good for BMC, since IT teams will have to manage computing resources not just inside their data center, but outside in public clouds, from vendors such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft.
Beauchamp tells this story to show the kind of complexity it expects to help companies manage. It's the experience of one Fortune 500 CIO, who had a developer doing work in a public cloud platform. The developer, completely separate from the company, was arrested for crimes committed outside of work. Beauchamp explains:
"Because this employee had set up this account with the external service providers himself, it was viewed by the police to be his assets, so those assets were seized, even though what was on it was software that belonged to the corporation. You now got into a discussion of whose intellectual property it is, and who had the rights to those assets. What the CIO related to me, and what we're working with them on in this project, is they need to make sure all requests for services that go into public clouds go through the exact same approval processes, workflows, and audit trails as internal resources." BMC is working with the company on a system in which employees request computing resources, and a BMC software engine decides whether to use a public cloud like Amazon's or internal resources.
That said, Beauchamp isn't seeing a lot of big companies doing production work in public clouds yet--mostly pilot projects when it comes to big businesses, with an assumption that "it'll continue to grow and become more relevant."
On Cisco's Unified Computing System:
BMC is a partner in Cisco's unified computing system, with which Cisco entered the blade server market by selling its servers and networking equipment along with EMC storage, VMware virtualization software, and BMC management software. Beauchamp says the partnership delivered "some revenue" the last quarter.
Cisco must prove it can dislodge entrenched server providers in this market. Beauchamp says he talked with the CIO of one large financial services provider recently that has a strategy in the works that's entirely based on the Cisco UCS platform: "If they execute what they said to me they're going to do, this would be a major, major technology data center going all UCS. We're seeing it salt-and-peppered all over the place, and some companies saying they're going at it full bore."
On where the economy's headed:
Beauchamp starts with an "emphatic I don't know." But what he does know is what IT decision-makers are doing: "They're gearing up somewhat for increasing volume and increased revenue. So they're basically building out their IT infrastructure for the next run-up of their business. … They're investing because they believe that it's going to get better. That's really all we can see. We see them actually spending money, in preparation of a better economy."
CIOs aren't betting on long-term payoffs from IT investments, though. "If you say you're going to get your money back, but it's going to take 18 months, they just don't want to do it," Beauchamp says. "That's a change."