HDS – Big Iron or Little Iron?

Just noticed this yesterday (Ive been away for a little while) has anybody else noticed the change of company logo/branding for HDS? 

The official line from the link on the HDS website is that due to “....an era of mega-competition…” the move is to “...more clearly reflect our alignment with the global presence and reputation of Hitachi, Ltd..”  Looks to me like the storm is raging in the storage vendor world and HDS is moving further under the wing of its big brother Hitachi Ltd

Well at least that’s how the information on the HDS website reads to me.

A while ago in in my post “Big Blue…..Big Borg! ” I blogged about how other “big iron” vendors were either already huge monoliths or were acquiring companies at a rate of “fifty to the dozen” and would soon become huge monoliths (I believe that EMC has acquired 23 companies in the last 2-3 years).  Then of course there was little old HDS who were deciding to “partner” with other companies rather than swallow them up and become a monolith like the rest.  I remember wondering at the time how HDS would survive???  So I guess it looks the top brass at HDS and Hitachi are avid readers of rupturedmonkey.com and got a little worried after reading my post and decided to bring HDS in a little closer to keep them competetive – errrr well may be Im going a little too far here Wink

I must confess, however, to wondering what this means for the future of HDS?  Is this simply a logo change or is it the start of something else?

Having worked for HDS, HP and IBM (the latter two as a contractor) as well as being a customer of each, I feel I have some feel as to the pros and cons of each of these so called “big iron” vendors.  In my honest opinion I have always preferred HDS over the other two because of the small feel to the company and the fact that it wasn’t as riddled with politics, red tape, inter-departmental cross charges …….. and all the other things that are part and parcel of being a massive organisation. 

Don’t get me wrong, HDS had many of these woes as well, just on a far smaller scale.  The nuts and bolts of it for me being that at HDS it was relatively easy to speak to the right person, be they an engineer, architect or manager…. All of which makes them, as a company, more enjoyable and easy to work for AND with.  Whereas at the other of the two companies it was often like pulling your own teeth out when trying to find the right person to speak to – not too different to calling your bank, getting the automated phone service and being presented with 20 different options none of  which suit your request, then sitting on hold for an age, finally getting through to someone only for them to tell you that you’ve come through to the wrong department and …….. as always, they cant transfer you and give you another number to call to start the process all over again.

I remember when Compaq were bought by HP, all of the PS guys and engineers of a particular Compaq partner who I knew complained that after the takeover/merger, whatever you want to call it, they all complained about how different things became.  You could no longer speak to a guy at the factory, or a firmware engineer about a problem you were experiencing.  Suddenly you were only allowed to call in to a call centre and open a ticket and then wait.

Of course the engineers et al were still the same (other than the those who were laid off as part of the merger), they were just suddenly hit with corporate red tape, structures and channels through which to speak with their customers…..  On that note I must also mention that although I preferred HDS to both HP and IBM, the engineers and people I worked with at all 3 companies were top notch, it was just the fact that HDS was far more nimble as an organisation. 

Of course being the smaller and more nimble also has its draw-backs - in Europe at least, there was a distinct lack of resources at times; people and testing labs spring to mind immediately.  HP and IBM usually had far more of these it just took you an age to find them, the people at least.  I also notice that there usually appear to be far more white papers and technical resources available  to the public from HP and IBM. 

I always think that the banter between the likes of HDS and HP staff is good - if you talk to HDS, they tell yo uthat "HP just rebadge OUR boxes, take the doors off and its one of OUR boxes behind the grill".  Then if you talk to HP guys, they tell you that "HDS are nothing more than a sales channel for Hitachi but without financial and professional services resources of a company like HP".  Always good for a laugh but a bit of truth in both comments I think.  In fact I have a couple of funny stories about these conversations that I will blog about some time - watch this space.

So is this rebranding move by HDS the start of the company being swallowed up in the mega-company that Hitachi is?  Will they become Will HDS lose their appeal of being the “little iron” of the “big iron” vendors out there?

Thoughts welcome.