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Top 3 Tech Partnerships and Mergers of 2015

Around this time last year, analysts at IDC predicted that tech would potentially "see two or three major mergers, acquisitions, or restructurings among the top-tier IT vendors in 2015." However, this year has been busier than expected from a quantity and impact perspective, the latter of which being highlighted by the largest merger ever in the sector: Dell's convoluted acquisition of EMC. The networking, storage, security, cloud computing and essentially every segmented IT market saw significant changes that sent waves across the tech industry this year and are bound to play a large role in what’s to come. 

As an IT pro, you never know when these big business deals will have a trickle-down effect and have an impact on your daily work. A number of mergers that occurred in 2015 could have major implications for data centers and sysadmins should be aware of how these implications might change operations and organizational initiatives. To help keep you on top of things, here are the top 3 tech deals that made their mark this year and will continue to have an impact on IT pros in 2016.

1. Dell/EMC

By far the biggest tech acquisition that made its announcement in 2015 was Dell’s plan to acquire EMC for $67 billion. The largest merger ever within the tech industry is not only making waves throughout the higher levels of the corporate ladder, but also trickling down into all types and sizes of IT organizations. EMC has long been known for its storage expertise, but it also had a stake in VMware (which will remain a publicly traded company after the deal is finalized next year), a well-known and often discussed software company specializing in virtualization that allows computers in data centers to operate more efficiently. The organizational structure will span from personal computers sold to consumers/businesses to servers/storage devices that are installed in corporate data centers. As expected with a deal of this magnitude, the complexities of the agreement are plentiful and will continue to be mulled over in 2016, but all signs point to this acquisition being completed successfully and it has the potential to dramtically shift the overarching tech/IT landscape.

2. Microsoft/Red Hat

One of the more surprising deals of 2015 was the partnership between Microsoft and Red Hat, longtime rivals from enemy camps of the software industry that are now planning to collaborate in the cloud. The agreement will make Red Hat’s version of the Linux operating system available to users of Microsoft Azure, the software company’s cloud service. Under the deal, Microsoft is designating Red Hat’s Linux as the “preferred” option for enterprise-style computing jobs on Azure. While there are plenty of things that Microsoft and Red Hat still disagree on, both software makers will benefit from taking advantage of each other’s resources, and the proposed technical support structure is designed to make sure customers get problems resolved without having to go back and forth between separate service teams. IT pros never would have imagined this ten years ago, but the Microsoft/Red Hat partnership is a testament to the ever-changing state of the IT industry.

3. Cisco/Ericsson

Computing exists beyond the realm of servers these days. Cisco and Ericsson, two powerhouses in the telecommunications industry, teamed up this year with plans of generating $1 billion in revenue for each company by 2018. The two companies will create new products, unify customer service and share patents in a partnership that is rather unprecedented in the industry. The alliance points to the merging of computing and communications as more business is conducted in the cloud and companies gravitate toward the Internet of Things. Cisco and Ericsson are planning to branch out and sell smarter software/networking gear to a broadened customer base as well as expand their product offering to enterprise clients seeking services and products rooted in connectivity. As part of that, they are helping customers deal with the transition to software-defined networks, but there will be a need to develop new products and skills to help with the transforming role that networks will need to play in the future. If your work is related to Cisco or the telecommunications industry as a whole, you should certainly keep an eye on how this partnership evolves in 2016. 

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