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Technology News Highlights: Cisco’s Acquisition of Splunk, Lenovo’s Edge Server, and More – Infrastructure Matters, Episode 13

Technology News Highlights: Cisco's Acquisition of Splunk, Lenovo's Edge Server, and More - Infrastructure Matters, Episode 13

In this episode of Infrastructure Matters, hosts Camberley Bates, Steven Dickens, and Krista Macomber discuss the merger of Kioxia and Western Digital’s solid-state storage units and Infinidat’s announcements regarding high-end data storage devices. They also highlight MLCommons’ new releases, including MLPerf 3.1 and MLPerf for storage, which includes large language models and storage benchmarks.

The conversation shifts to Lenovo’s Edge server launch and its potential impact on AI deployments at the edge. They discuss the significance of AI-specific servers and the importance of deployment technology, including lightweight Kubernetes distributions and private 5G.

The discussion continues with a mention of Alcion, a backup company that uses AI to proactively identify potential security threats and intelligently schedule backups, highlighting Alcion’s recent Series A funding round.

The hosts also cover announcements from Oracle CloudWorld and BMC Connect, discussing Oracle’s partnership with Azure for running Oracle databases and BMC’s product velocity and competition with ServiceNow.

They also cover Telesign’s introduction of a service to uncover security breaches associated with phone numbers, emphasizing the importance of securing personal data and communication.

Finally, the hosts deep dived into Cisco’s acquisition of Splunk for a blockbuster $28bn fee.

Topics include:

  • Kioxia and Western Digital’s solid-state storage merger
  • Infinidat’s announcements on high-end data storage devices and expanded capacity
  • MLCommons’ new releases, including MLPerf 3.1 and MLPerf for storage
  • Lenovo’s Edge server launch for AI deployments at the edge
  • Alcion’s Series A funding and AI-based data protection
  • Oracle’s partnership with Azure
  • BMC’s product velocity
  • Telesign’s service to uncover security breaches associated with phone numbers
  • Cisco’s acquisition of Splunk

You can watch the video of our conversation below, and be sure to visit our YouTube Channel and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this webcast. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this webcast.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Transcript:

Camberley Bates: Good day, folks. How is everybody today? Welcome to Infrastructure Matters and another wonderful podcast, webcast, however you want to watch it with my compadres, Krista Macomber, who you know is the gal that knows everything about data security and data protection and all that stuff. And then, Steve Dickens, who’s covering the hybrid IT. And welcome.

Steven Dickens: Hey, Camberley.

Krista Macomber: Hey, Camberley. Hey, Steven.

Steven Dickens: Always the highlight of our week to record this, for sure.

Camberley Bates: Yes. It’s a good morning. So we’ve got a bunch of stuff to cover today. We have a whole bunch of news is coming on. So we’re into the fall season or starting the fall season. So we’re now going to be plowing into a whole bunch of things that are going on. I’ll highlight a couple of things that I saw and then I’m going to pass it to my partners in crime here to bring up their items. One of the items, it’s a little bit of not a low-key one, but it’s the merger of Kioxia and Western Digital. What’s going on there, if you hadn’t seen that, is the solid state piece of Western Digital and Kioxia are going to merge together. What happened this week was a movement forward, which is getting some funds, Kioxia submitting for some major funds to be able to support this merger that’s going to be going on. So things seem to be progressing are going to happen. And as you know, the other part of WDC or Western Digital is that hard drive. So that’s going to remain as a standalone group.

The other item, one of our clients that we work with a lot is Infinidat. They announced a couple, not huge announcements, but significant ones. Infinidat is a high-end data storage device. They compete mostly with the IBM DS series as well as the PowerMax market. But they announced a capability where they would dedicate data sets on their SSD layer to specific workloads because they can be a hybrid system. And the other thing is they expanded their capacity and their antenna box, doubled the capacity to 6.6 petabytes.

One of the items that was really cool this week that came across was with MLCommons, and if you guys don’t don’t know what MLCommons is, is they are a benchmark organization that specializes in high performance computing and now they have released two new releases. One of them is a release of their MLPerf next release, 3.1 that has got new large language models capabilities testing, and this is primarily for servers. It’s called Chat GPT-J, which is for large language models. And what they’ve used is like this is going to be interesting, the data set is coming from CNN’s News.

Steven Dickens: Okay, is this a performance benchmark so that server vendors can then sort compare themselves from a large language model performance perspective? I’d missed that one.

Camberley Bates: Exactly, so that’s their next release. So it’s just another data set they have with MLPerf that they can use. The one that is brand new is the MLPerf for storage, and this is a dot five release. So it’s a very early stage release. Quite a few companies have released with this dot five release. They are DDN, Micron, Nutanix, Weka, and then Argonne Labs. Now, I had a giggle when I looked at the results of it because you got all these guys that are doing… Most of the vendor guys are putting up systems that are like 300 terabytes, 500 terabytes, like that Argonne Labs did one exabyte. It’s like, okay, there we go guys. That’s nice of you.

Steven Dickens: That’s confident for you. We’ve got a really, really big system and we’re proud of it.

Krista Macomber: Go big or go home.

Camberley Bates: And it’s mostly all the HP, which the Cray stuff, the HPC stuff that they have that’s going on there, but I just got to giggle out of that. And there’s two data sets in there in the MLPerf storage. One is for medical imaging and the other one is a language model that they’re using some basis with Wikipedia of using that information, et cetera. So that’s kind of my news for this week. That’s fun news. I mean there’s other stuff that folks are going to cover here, so I’ll turn it over to my friend, Steven to talk about his fun stuff.

Steven Dickens: Well, it’s interesting. I mean you give me a lead off. Lenovo launched a new Edge server this week. I wrote about it on our site with you. I’ve also written a Forbes article about it. We’ll put that in the show notes. But I think we’re going to see more and more AI specific servers. You and I have been talking about this, we’ve been briefed on it at a couple of, HPE, Dell, Lenovo. So I think going back to what you’re saying about there being specific large language benchmarks, it’s going to be interesting to see the server vendors compete and race off.

And obviously if you’re wanting to do that server vendors, we’ve got a labs capability that you can run those benchmarks in and we can give you third party. So without this turning into a sales pitch. But I think going back to the Lenovo Edge AI server launch, I think really interesting for me putting that learning and out at the edge, we’re going to see vision models in manufacturing sites, along production lines. The ability to do that learning at the edge and in often cases, the far edge. That was the thing I took from the Lenovo. They’ve kind of tuned this server for high dust environments, temperature environments. So it’s out of a data center type sort of controlled cooling perspective. Tamper-proof, so that this thing, if you take the top off it, you can set it up that it’ll wipe any memory or disc that’s in there.

So designing this server to go out to the edge and in some cases, the far edge and take AI further. So I think there’s a lot of buzz about large language models and ChatGPT and Bard and Daniel and our team, Mark Becccue, were out at a Microsoft Co-pilot launch this week. So there’s lots going on at the application level, but we’re also seeing that come through into the infrastructure level as well. So I think that’s fascinating.

Camberley Bates: So the comment on that, what’s going to be going on in the edge for the listeners here is those inference models that are going to be on those boxes and they’re going to be thinking about, let’s think about retail. I’m doing visual, right? I’m doing a lot of visual processing that’s there. So that’s heavy duty processing. If I have an avatar, potentially that’s where we’re going to go. We’re going to see that should probably show up at the Apple stores first, right? The avatar is going to show up and have a conversation with you, we have digital twins there that are going on. So those are the kinds of things that are going to require this major processing at the edge. Also collecting data and new data that will be then sent back up for, there you go, there’s your cut. They’ll be sent back up for training purposes.

But one of the things that you said that’s interesting is that when you take the top off, it’s taking out the data. All of a sudden, I think the data is important today, that’s transactional data, that’s the edge, if I think of retail or some of those other prices, even there. But all of a sudden when you have inference engines and that kind of thing, you now have another level of IP sitting out there.

Steven Dickens: For sure.

Camberley Bates: So that security becomes an interesting point that you guys are driving at. Anyway, back to you, Steve.

Steven Dickens: Well yeah, I mean, as I say in the quest to get all of our cooler sponsored, we’ve got one from Lenovo here.

Camberley Bates: Hey, I do have to show my old evaluator group. Okay, so there you go.

Steven Dickens: Oh, great reference for our landscape, going back to the benchmark. But I think for me, the interesting thing here is we are going to see AI get deployed. It’s not just a data center play with big GPUs from Invidia. It’s not just kind of at an application level. This is driving all the way out to the edge. I think the other piece that’s interesting for me, and Ron Westfall does a good job of talking about this on our 5G Factor podcast series, is it’s not just the applications. It’s not just the infrastructure. You’ve got to have the deployment technology to get those applications out. We’re seeing lightweight Kubernetes distributions, K3s. We are seeing those from Red Hat, from the Suse Rancher prime team. We got briefed by Canonical yesterday on what they’re doing.

So I think this lightweight sort of Kubernetes out to the edge. But you’ve also got to couple that with what private 5G and Wi-Fi 6 is going. It’s the combination of all of the above for me that’s going to make the edge, and in a lot of cases, the far edge explode from a computing perspective. It’s not just Lenovo launching servers. They’ve done a great job. You’ve got to have the connections, infrastructure and the communications. You’ve got to be able to get the application out there. It’s the holistic picture and I think that’s coming together for the first time.

Camberley Bates: So Krista, what do you got?

Krista Macomber: Yeah, so I have one related to AI as well, a little bit of a different perspective. We saw an interesting announcement this week. There is a backup company that new, that came out of Stealth earlier this year. They’re called Alcion. They’re out of the founders of the company called Kasten, which is the container data protection, kind of niche provider that was, excuse me, acquired by Veeam back in 2020. And this new company, Alcion, they’ve already reached their Series A funding. So this was 21 million. So they’ve raised a total of 29 million already in funding. And what’s interesting is that they have a background as a service platform that was kind of developed from the ground up to utilize AI.

So from my perspective, we have been seeing different announcements from data protection vendors to try to integrate AI in machine learning as well. For example, to be able to detect anomalies that might indicate ransomware, kind of another malware attack. But here we have a platform again, kind of built from the ground up to utilize AI not only to maybe more proactively identify ransomware attacks, but also do things like more intelligently scheduled backups and try to offload some of that administrative burden from our IT operations teams. So I had the opportunity to kind of chat with Niraj, the CEO, about how things have been going, some of their plans for their funding, and it’s really just one more, I think interesting, potentially very impactful use case for AI.

Camberley Bates: Great. Awesome. So Steve, you had a couple of others that you wanted to talk on. We had Oracle CloudWorld this week and I think BMC Connect was also this week?

Steven Dickens: Yeah, it’s been a busy week. I couldn’t be in two places at once. So we sent our team out to CloudWorld. We got briefed on a couple of announcements before, so I was in the team that sort of got briefed on those. I think the interesting one for me and Guy Courier and Ron Westfall have written sort research notes on this, so you’ll see that on our site. The interesting one for me was putting Oracle infrastructure into Azure to be able to run Oracle database. I think just that set of words in a sentence kind of is surprising to me and shows how evolved both Oracle is and also where Microsoft is from a competitive landscape point.

If you’d have seen Bill Gates and Larry Ellison taking chunks out of each other 10, 15 years ago, I don’t think you’d have expected those guys to be partnering up. And seeing Satya and Larry on stage together, playing nice and doing kumbaya. So I think just interesting, I think Oracle’s got a huge on-prem footprint with Oracle Database 23c and sort of older versions. It’s going to be really fascinating to see where that data moves to. A lot of people are going to want to put their applications on Azure, so having that data on an Oracle tuned infrastructure in Azure makes a lot of sense to me.

Camberley Bates: Yeah, whole lot of sense in terms of-

Steven Dickens: But as I say, it’s kind of interesting for somebody with white in their beard and seeing the competitive fights from the sort of late ’90s through to today.

Camberley Bates: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Steven Dickens: Seeing Microsoft and Oracle play nice together is kind of funny.

Camberley Bates: Well we see that in geopolitical lives as well. So there you go. We won’t go down that today. The second one was BMC Connect. Anything significant coming out of there? I’m sure there was.

Steven Dickens: So BMC’s taking their annual conference on the road this year, rather than doing it like they did in Miami last year. They’re doing seven events. So I got to quick hop, skip, and a jump down to New York City and spent some time with pretty much this entire C-suite. Very gracious of them. Ayman Sayed, the CEO, Ali Siddiqui, their chief product officer, Paul Can’t, their chief revenue officer. Martin, their CMO. I also got some time with John McKenny from their mainframe, who’s the GM for that. I think the key takeaways from me is BMC is a 40-year-old software company. They’re long established. 40% of their revenue comes from the mainframe. I think having tracked that company for a number of years, they are the product velocity that there’s an announcement that Dave Rafo and I covered, that you’ll find on the website, the product velocity that’s coming out of them, where they are from a product leadership point of view, in IT service management and observability.

I think if you haven’t looked at BMC and maybe you’ve got them in your mind as a legacy vendor, what Ayman’s done with that business over the last four years, under KKR’s ownership and once they transition from Bain, they are really shaking off some of the shackles and some of the slow moving stuff that you would’ve seen five to 10 years prior. A lot going on with that business.

I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch them over the next couple of years. We’re going to talk about observability with our deep dive subject in a couple of minutes, but a lot going on with that business. And they’re winning, clients on stage like Sony, talking about how they’ve globally deployed some of their IT service management, talking about instances of where they’ve taken out ServiceNow, and Ayman shared with us off the record, a company that was BMC for service management then went ServiceNow and had a failed project and has gone back to BMC. I was surprised by that. ServiceNow is a fantastic company. We get briefed by them and it’s all good news. It’s interesting to see some competitive landscape and sort of get a perspective there.

Camberley Bates: We got one more topic until we’re going to get tight on time here, which was Telesign. I think Krista or Steve, one of you, or both of you were on the Telesign briefing work this week and there’s some interesting things that happening there. Krista?

Steven Dickens: Take it away, Krista.

Krista Macomber: Sure, yeah, I’m happy to kick it off and Steven, I’m sure you’ll have some commentary to add. But they’re a very interesting company in the security space that we’re starting to work with. And their announcement was that they’re introducing a service to be able to essentially uncover if any data linked to a particular phone number has been associated with a security breach. And the relevance here is that when we think about, for all of us on a daily basis, just all of the interactions that we have digitally, when you think about commenting, when you think about sign-ins, things of that nature, that really introduces this whole web of potential vulnerabilities for our personal identities. Our data to be accessed for things like maybe somebody gains malicious access to an account or they can maybe have account spoofing, where they set up an account that looks like us or just otherwise be able to access or potentially steal our personal data.

So really the service is going to be used by businesses to provide more secure transactions for their customers and really kind of offer a tool to be able to not only kind of safeguard that from happening upfront, but also if there has been a breach to hopefully be able to more quickly identify that that has happened, so that we can then take some remedial action.

So yeah, it was a great conversation. Steven and I were able to put our heads together on a research note and I’m sure we’ll be having more to come on that. But that was kind of my key takeaways. Steven, was there anything else from your perspective that really jumped out?

Steven Dickens: Yeah, I mean I think just sort of go up a moment, Telesign’s just had a new CEO. I think there’s some stuff going on within the wider group that’s interesting. I think as a vendor to watch a new CEO, I’m going to talk about that when we get onto the deep dive subject here, always signals a change of direction, a change of investment, increase in velocity for a business. And it’s a relatively young CEO, I think, 45 was what I was told on the briefing. So it’s going to be fascinating to watch that business grow and develop. Not a big name, but I think if you haven’t checked out Telesign, I’d certainly be having a look at what they’re doing.

Krista Macomber: Absolutely.

Camberley Bates: To that end, really interesting what Telesign is doing because if you look at where most of the hits are coming from, some sort of spoofing, spam of something that somebody has clicked through and we’re constantly going through education of the end users to remind them about this is what’s coming at you, this is what’s coming at you. And I’m sure all of us have experienced some really weird emails to where we’ve had to double check to say, is this really from you?

I mean, just a couple of weeks ago, Sam on our staff had called me about something because she’d gotten these weird texts from me regarding having to process some cards that we needed to get immediately out to our customers. And it’s like, “Okay, is this you or is this something else?” So this is the kind of thing I’m sure that the Telesign is addressing. Fortunately, she didn’t process anything. She called me first and said, “What’s going on?” So that voice to voice communication becomes really critical to verify and confirm whatever kind of odd emails or messages that we’re getting, which I know I’ve gotten. I’m sure you have too.

Steven Dickens: Yeah, for sure.

Krista Macomber: Absolutely.

Camberley Bates: So let’s flip onto the other side. What we want to talk about, if you’ve seen Cisco is buying Splunk for a nice pretty sum. They’re getting, I think about a 30% kick in their stock for this transaction, is going on, a very, very interesting purchase. Neither, none of us saw it. But then when you see it, you kind of go, “Makes a whole lot of sense.” So Steve, you’ve already got some coverage on there. I know this has been the last 48 hours or 24 hours, but go for it.

Steven Dickens: Well, I’ve got my cooler ready for my Splunk announcement, but no, I mean I think this came-

Camberley Bates: Do you have a closet of those things because you keep pulling them out?

Steven Dickens: So this isn’t for any vendor. If you want your logo on a cooler on this podcast, please send me a… I’ve got four kids, so we’re always short of a YETI cooler and I’ve got a cupboard in the kitchen full of YETI coolers. But no, I mean all joking aside, this dropped Wednesday morning whilst I’m sort of drinking my first cup of tea, I’m on a investor webcast listening to Chuck Robbins and Gary Steele. I mean 2020 hindsight, I’ve had the opportunity to chat to Gary a couple of times at the last two Splunk conferences. If I look back and reflect on those conversations, he was bought in to shape up this business for a trade sale. So in hindsight, not surprising. In hindsight, definitely not surprising it’s Cisco. There’s a lot of synergy here.

I think it’s going to make Cisco more of a software company than hardware company. As I say, there’s white in my beard and I’ve known Cisco for years. They’ve been a classic Bellwether hardware OEM. This is going to make them a very, very different company. 28 billion, that’s a lot of money, but I think it makes a lot of sense. I think this is probably the same level of transformation that IBM went through with buying Red Hat and accelerating, I think 4 billion of ARR. That’s always going to help. It’s going to instantly make sense.

I think the other piece that’s interesting, and Gary and Chuck talked about this on the investor call, Splunk’s over concentrated from a revenue point of view in North America and doesn’t have that stronger channel. If you look at Cisco, it’s a truly globally sold organization and probably has got one of the best, or if not, the top two or three channels in the world. So the ability for that Splunk team to take exactly the same product that they’ve got today and on day one, be able to take it globally via an advanced and well-developed channel, you can see that that’s going to be accelerative for revenue. So I think the only piece that’s kind of a asterisk for me on this is AppDynamics and ThousandEyes and Splunk Observability Cloud, those are three pretty big solutions that are in relatively the same space.

So it’s going to be interesting to see what the product management organizations do to bring that holistically together. I think there’s some work to be done on the security side, but I think those three, from a solution point of view, that’s going to be where the interesting piece is. They’re going to have nine to 12 months to figure it out if they haven’t figured it out already. So I don’t have any concerns, but I think that’s the piece, as analysts, the first analyst briefing we get asked to go for the combined company, we’re going to be pointing fingers going, “Okay, so where does this bit of functionality fit with that piece and what are you doing to bring it together?” So I think that’s what we’ll be watching for. Krista, I know you’ll be watching it from a security point of view, but what’s your thoughts here?

Krista Macomber: Yeah, a 100%. Well, I mean I think just first off, you really hit the nail on the head Steven with I think Cisco is no longer the switch company, right? It’s so funny. We’ve been trained for so long just to think, “Okay, how is Cisco tying this back to kind of driving sales of its switches?” And I think this to your point, really shows that they’re quite serious about, like you say, broadening that business and really becoming that network leaning security company. Though of course, when we think about observability, it certainly goes beyond just the network. So I think that’ll be interesting to see.

And to your point, from an observability perspective, how will it integrate these pieces and create maybe that cloud environment and how will this impact… So from a Splunk standpoint as well, maybe some of the third party kind of integrations that Splunk has or rather that other products, so from a data protection standpoint, we see a lot of companies are trying to integrate with Splunk and sort of feed their data and their insights into Splunk’s platform for that broader context and visibility.

So it’ll be interesting to see how that maybe evolves over time. I would say those are probably the couple of things that I’m really looking for, but definitely obviously a very big announcement.

Camberley Bates: So I’m going to go to the use of Splunk’s data that they’ve already gathered through all these years, or the betterment of the Cisco products. Now that’s a long range product strategy that they’re looking at to say, if you’ve got all this data, if they are gathering the data, and I don’t know all of Splunk’s market and everything else, it’s not something that I track in terms of, from the architecture standpoint. But I’m trying to look and saying, okay, so not only you looked at it from a business aspect, they become more of a software firm, ARR and all that kind of stuff. Okay, I’m checking all the boxes for the financial guys. Yeah, okay, that’s fine.

What I’m thinking about is what’s in it? Why should IT guys even care about this? You’ve got two big companies coming together. How do you take those products, what Cisco has, and their core products that they have and bring something new and brand new to the market? And I believe there’s something there in terms of what we’re doing with AI kind of work that may give them over the next 24 months or so as they start training models, et cetera, a leg up competitively. If you look at it… Go ahead.

Steven Dickens: I think you’ve hit on something here. There’s going to be a huge corpus of data that has come out of Cisco devices that is in Splunk’s log management and sort of filtering tools. You overlay on top of that a generative AI capability to be able to synthesize it and pull it together and democratize that and put it in different people and query it in different ways. It’s going to be powerful. I mean, that’s some real product engineering work to be done. Both of the companies have made AI announcements. Chuck Robbins was sort of at pains to say that he’d taken 500 millions worth of AI orders. I can’t remember whether that was this quarter or this year already. Probably a quarter, I would think. I’d need to go back and check.

But I think AI was on the roadmap for both of these companies. But I think, and you do a great job of this, looking ahead further and thinking what are the product implications? I may be more of a financial transaction guy, but it’s going to be fascinating to see those product teams come together.

Camberley Bates: So I’m thinking, okay, so this is where we’re going to go. And if I’m looking at how do I more so secure the perimeters, more so secure the what is coming through to them? Then, now I look at every one of my other networking companies and if that’s what these guys are going to be able to do, what happens with everyone else?

If Juniper is out there, they’re going, okay, so if they’ve got that, and the other piece of it is that Splunk has got got a huge percentage in the market. I can’t remember the number from last night that I was reading, but they’re the big guys. And so even if Juniper goes out and buys, what is it? Databricks or a Dynatrace, or some of the other guys that are doing some of the, Elastic, that can incorporate that into their architecture, you still have potentially Cisco, if they can execute well on product development, will have a leg up on the market over the next whatever years, 18 months, two years, whatever it takes, once they get out there. Now they still has to close, et cetera. But at the same time, so there is this question about are we going to see this tumble happen now that somebody potentially has visualized what can be over the long haul?

Steven Dickens: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s interesting. You’ve got Juniper, you’ve got F5, you’ve got in the telco space, the Nokias and the Ericssons of this world. There’s obviously other players in that space. I don’t think any of us tracks the network space. But it’d be interesting to see what we see with a Datadog, a Dynatrace, a BMC you know, Elastic, some of these observability companies, the PagerDutys, other people in that sort of space, partnering up with the network providers. So we are going to see kind of coalitions develop over here to combat what sort of Splunk and Cisco are doing over there. I hadn’t thought of that. See Camberley, this is why I love recording this pod. I always get smarter from chatting to you.

Camberley Bates: You didn’t even think of that.

Steven Dickens: I didn’t think of that. I didn’t think of that. So-

Camberley Bates: That was the conversation last night with my husband around the fireside. So anyway, that’s where we went with it all.

Steven Dickens: Value add for me, not just for our listeners listening.

Camberley Bates: All right guys, this has been great. Have a wonderful day to our listeners, of course. Follow us on the buttons, whatever all those buttons are there. You will find us, I guess it’s YouTube. Where else are we at nowadays?

Steven Dickens: Spotify, Apple Podcasts.

Camberley Bates: There we go. There we go. Okay. So we’ll be all over the place and I want to say thank you to our crew that also puts us together because they make us look good, et cetera. So there’s a crew behind us that makes this all happen. So have a great day, guys. Thanks.

Author Information

Camberley brings over 25 years of executive experience leading sales and marketing teams at Fortune 500 firms. Before joining The Futurum Group, she led the Evaluator Group, an information technology analyst firm as Managing Director.

Her career has spanned all elements of sales and marketing including a 360-degree view of addressing challenges and delivering solutions was achieved from crossing the boundary of sales and channel engagement with large enterprise vendors and her own 100-person IT services firm.

Camberley has provided Global 250 startups with go-to-market strategies, creating a new market category “MAID” as Vice President of Marketing at COPAN and led a worldwide marketing team including channels as a VP at VERITAS. At GE Access, a $2B distribution company, she served as VP of a new division and succeeded in growing the company from $14 to $500 million and built a successful 100-person IT services firm. Camberley began her career at IBM in sales and management.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from California State University – Long Beach and executive certificates from Wellesley and Wharton School of Business.

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

With a focus on data security, protection, and management, Krista has a particular focus on how these strategies play out in multi-cloud environments. She brings approximately a decade of experience providing research and advisory services and creating thought leadership content, with a focus on IT infrastructure and data management and protection. Her vantage point spans technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her work has appeared in major publications including eWeek, TechTarget and The Register.

Prior to joining The Futurum Group, Krista led the data center practice for Evaluator Group and the data center practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research. She also created articles, product analyses, and blogs on all things storage and data protection and management for analyst firm Storage Switzerland and led market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

Krista holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Journalism with a minor in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

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