Actually, there is a good way to think about a lot of these companies… in many cases, you aren’t buying a ‘system’, you are buying a core component of many systems, or your enterprise.
Sun was really visionary. With Java, when they had the compnent store, and the idea you would just ‘buy’ this bit and that bit, and assemble the app.
This is the 2.0 version of that… I always try to explain that software isn’t just software, its a human-software complex. You have both human (and machine) users, and then the humans who build, maintain, know and extend it. You can’t have working software with out a working team; without the team, software ‘entropies’ - because systems are so dynamic now that need and function changes, because for software (unlike for building planes and rockets), physics and laws by which it has to work change all the time – no threats, protocols, processors, networks, use cases, loads, etc.
So the missing part was that service bit and revenue … you don’t just buy the software once, you are putting a living, breathing maintained entity into your system. And you have to choose decisively, because you are going to likely live with it for awhile.
In terms of change and dropping tools, Architects (whose job is fundamentally selecting what to tear down and rebuild better), will likely be in maintenance mode – they may negotiate price or remove costly or edge cases…but core parts of their business will stay in place…
Other techs/companies that fit this model:
– Elastic Search
– Instio (if they ever go public in some form)
– pstg, ntnx (a wierd breed of should have been historically hardware magically pulled that off)
– App dynamics, New Relic
I should build out a reference architecture and fill in all the spaces with the companies making leading offerings.
These guys all specialize in parts of building enterprises.