Should Google buy BMC to secure its cloud?

Posted by Rob Enderle

If it wasn't for IBM there wouldn’t be a Microsoft.

You may recall that Redmond began generating tons of cash when IBM took the company under its wing and helped MS drive DOS into the market - both validating and helping to support the product.  

Google is clearly having issues with its own attempts to move into the large business space and even though the mega-corporation is far larger than Microsoft was in the 1990s, and arguably far more powerful, Mountain View's efforts in L.A. have thus far been disastrous.  

Should Google buy BMC to secure the cloud?I recently interviewed Harris, a company that is succeeding with cloud services which are almost identical to what Google is attempting to sell. The difference? Harris used BMC’s Cloud Planning and Design program from the start to ensure positive results.

Frankly, I’m fascinated by this all, probably because I was one of the folks that had to clean up after Netscape’s similar disastrous attempt in the 1990s which cost a lot of friends their jobs. Yes, Netscape failed to plan and their plan failed catastrophically. 

Then again, I’m not actually suggesting Google buy BMC, as the cultural differences would likely doom the merger. However, I am pointing out a common mistake - the desire to learn by doing rather than the need to learn from the mistakes of others. Let’s explore this.

The Cloud

The concept of the cloud seems relatively simple. It is most easily described as flexible hosting where the resources used are always the least costly that are both acceptable and available. Or, perhaps even more simply, it is cost-optimized hosting.

Now, what Google missed in terms of L.A. is that it isn’t cost optimized exclusively - because every company has critical requirements. And obviously, government entities like Los Angeles perceive security as absolutely critical. It is this requirement that Google missed in trying to come up with the cheapest cost. This means the cost floor in such scenarios tends to be higher.

BMC Cloud Planning and Design Program

This is as much a course of study as it is a set of guidelines in terms of how to properly execute cloud projects for any sized company. The BMC Cloud Planning and Design Program starts with the collective knowledge of leading experts who have cut their teeth on actual cloud deployments in government, healthcare, and finance and ends with an assessment of the unique requirements of a client firm. 

However, BMC is also hardware independent. Meaning, when its program recommends a certain class of hardware - such as networking, storage, and servers - it is the necessary minimum to meet requirements, rather than a vendor wish list for the highest margin solution. The BMC team that leads and executes this program are MBAs, boast expertise in a broad set of Cloud tools, and have completed at least 6 large scale related projects.  

The result? An 18-month cloud implementation plan which includes case design, full resource requirements (software, hardware, services, people), and total financial investment. Plus, the end deliverable offers a comprehensive risk, change, and organizational readiness assessment.  

Basically, before a firm embarks on a project, BMC knows whether or not it has sufficient resources to do so. The type of companies that have been through this program include some of the largest and most secure firms in the world. In short, the BMC program assures no one is learning on the job.  

Harris Example

Harris used this program to roll out an enterprise service similar to the one that Google failed at in L.A. Of course, the Harris initiative complies with both Federal and Healthcare Security requirements. Interestingly enough, by using the BMC program, Harris discovered early on that it couldn’t go with the cheapest hardware and needed to use VBLOCKs. This is a system jointly designed by EMC, VMware, and Cisco from the ground up to effectively address specific needs and costs. One of the design constraints was to run upwards of 200,000 secure virtual server sessions across a number of companies - with all meeting critical security requirements.  

Yes, the result was more costly than Google’s attempt, but it did meet the requirements while Google was unable to.   

Wrapping Up:

Much of the history of technology is full of examples of companies that learn by doing and seem to think planning is something you can either skip or worry about while executing. Of course, if companies like this somehow manage to survive they eventually come to understand this equasion quite differently. Still, I see no real point in taking such a risk.   

In the early days, Microsoft needed IBM to both mature and make it acceptable to the same class of companies Google appears to want as customers for its own enterprise efforts.  Similarly, Mountain View might want to adopt, buy, or create a tool like BMC’s Cloud Planning and Design Program to both fix L.A. and prevent another disaster in the future. Then againm if you are involved in a cloud deployment, with or without Google, you might want to check out this tool, along with the Harris platform.