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EMC-Dell merger means less competition

This week, bloggers assess the impact of the EMC-Dell merger on IT purchasing and weigh Wi-Fi HaLow and sandboxes for network security.

In a recent post, blogger Greg Ferro of Ethereal Mind considered an Enterprise Strategy Group survey measuring the potential impact of the upcoming EMC-Dell merger. The survey, of 202 IT leaders, revealed that most -- 75% -- believed the merger would benefit their enterprise, while 17% said it would have no impact. Only 3% showed concerns of negative impact. But Ferro takes another angle as he discusses the reduction of competition in the market.

In Ferro's view, the IT market is unlike many other markets because of the small number of suppliers and limited number of potential products. As a result, the EMC-Dell merger may mean that CIOs have lost a major potential supplier. According to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), many of those surveyed anticipated more innovation from the EMC-Dell merger, although Dell may now have less reason to innovate and may make sales negotiations more complicated for buyers. Ferro adds that while the EMC-Dell merger is likely to be good for CIOs, he believes that IT management should consider the downsides of a reduction in suppliers which could change pricing and market dynamics.

Read more of Ferro's thoughts on the EMC-Dell merger.

Wi-Fi HaLow and the need for another protocol

In a recent post, Mike Fratto, an analyst with Current Analysis in Sterling, Va., examines Wi-Fi HaLow and wonders if yet another protocol will further muddy the Wi-Fi landscape. The 802.11ah Wi-Fi HaLow protocol offers users a form of low-power wireless that contrasts with other, higher power 802.11 standards. Structured for the Internet of Things, 802.11ah operates in the unlicensed 900 Mhz spectrum to deliver greater range at a lower power than 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.

In Fratto's view, 802.11ah may have tremendous promise for IoT products, but adding another protocol complicates an already complex arena. In fact, Fratto points to 19 different protocols involved in IoT to date, and adds that customers aren't interested in protocols but rather products that interoperate. That said, Fratto acknowledges some of the limitations that can hobble in the 5 GHz range -- for example requiring a substantial number of access points to accommodate signal delivery across large areas. A protocol such as 802.11ah will fill some of those gaps, Fratto says, but there's a dark side as well.

Explore more of Fratto's thoughts on Wi-Fi HaLow.

Playing in sandboxes

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., recalls the introduction of the term advanced persistent threat by the U.S. Air Force in 2006, and its increased adoption after a 2010 Google breach. In response to APT threats, enterprises began to employ better threat intelligence and advanced, antimalware gateways (or sandboxes) from vendors like Blue Coat, FireEye, Cisco, Palo Alto, Lastline and Fortinet, Oltsik writes. According to ESG, 34% of enterprises have deployed these systems extensively, while another 46% have deployed them "somewhat."

Oltsik projects that 2016 will be a major year for sandbox-based endpoint security as spending and innovation has accelerated since the early 2010s, spurred by APT awareness and a need to track antivirus vulnerabilities. This long-term pattern has also yielded substantial improvements in next-generation endpoint security.

Read more of Oltsik's thoughts on sandboxes for endpoint security.

Next Steps

Understanding the EMC-Dell merger

Delving into Wi-Fi Aware

Looking at malware beyond the sandbox

Dig Deeper on Data Center Networking