What is wrong with the integrated IT infrastructure stacks? lack of choice

WSJ has an article on behavior that strikes fear in retailers.

Phone-Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers


Tri Tang, a 25-year-old marketer, walked into a Best Buy Co. store in Sunnyvale, Calif., this past weekend and spotted the perfect gift for his girlfriend.

Last year, he might have just dropped the $184.85 Garmin global positioning system into his cart. This time, he took out his Android phone and typed the model number into an app that instantly compared the Best Buy price to those of other retailers. He found that he could get the same item on Amazon.com Inc.'s website for only $106.75, no shipping, no tax.


Brian L. Frank for The Wall Street Journal

Tri Tang uses his mobile phone app, TheFind, to scan product bar codes and immediately troll online for the best price at various retailers.

Mr. Tang bought the Garmin from Amazon right on the spot.

"It's so useful," Mr. Tang says of his new shopping companion, a price comparison app called TheFind. He says he relies on it "to make sure I am getting the best price."

What first came to mind when I read this is the set of people I know in the data center industry who I can reach out to get a 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinion on almost any part of a data center project.  No one person can know it all, but if you have a network you can tap you can make different choices.

Retail shopping has changed as retailers can no longer count on spreading out high margin products in the midst of selling the power of a big merchant’s buying power.

Until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers to stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff, too.

Now, marketers must contend with shoppers who can use their smartphones inside stores to check whether the specials are really so special, and if the rest of the merchandise is reasonably priced.

While many holiday consumers refuse to pay full price, retailers are trying to outdo one another by encouraging shoppers to spend more, but without giving away the store. Elizabeth Holmes discusses some of retailers' most popular discount tactics.

"The retailer's advantage has been eroded," says Greg Girard of consultancy IDC Retail Insights, which recently found that roughly 45% of customers with smartphones had used them to perform due diligence on a store's prices. "The four walls of the store have become porous."

Integrated HW, SW, Networking, Storage, and manageability is the popular way to sell services.  And, even Larry Ellison has changed his position on cloud as cloud is a great way to sell an integrated stack.

Oracle Rolls Out Private Cloud Architecture And World-Record Transaction Performance

Posted by Richard Fichera on December 6, 2010

On Dec. 2, Oracle announced the next move in its program to integrate its hardware and software assets, with the introduction of Oracle Private Cloud Architecture, an integrated infrastructure stack with Infiniband and/or 10G Ethernet fabric, integrated virtualization, management and servers along with software content, both Oracle’s and customer-supplied. Oracle has rolled out the architecture as a general platform for a variety of cloud environments, along with three specific implementations, Exadata, Exalogic and the new Sunrise Supercluster, as proof points for the architecture.

Cloud vendors are busy partnering and buying companies to build cloud stacks, but what happens if the buyer wants choice?  The answer most will give is you don’t want to do that because the stack works best with our products.  Or worse we can guarantee performance if you buy only our products.

Imagine what Apple would look like if the iPod or iPhone only worked with the Mac.

People expect choice.  Even in Cloud Infrastructure.

No vendor wants this in the same way Best Buy would love to be able to disable cell phones or more specifically smart phones that are hitting shopping sites.

All of this creates a good opportunity to be disruptive.