A Chasm Looms
The software business is less about tools than owning key applications like SAP, EPIC, databases like Oracle, DB2, SQL etc. Those applications owners are moving enterprise customers as fast as they can to the company owned clouds drawing down investment in local data center infrastructure. I fully expect the DELL/EMC merger to be challenged by this trend.
The next two big trends are the increasing density and dropping cost for Solid state memory along with what happens to the network fabric in the growing cloud data centers at Azure, Google, Amazon, IBM and Oracle. With reported gains on search performance at Azure with their FPGA network fabric interfaces - we can see disintermediation of traditional block storage platforms for NVDIMM's distributed across hyper-smart fabrics in highly secured cloud data centers.
I think Cisco and others see this trend moving forward - but are not moving fast enough and are challenged by current integration issues. Let's face it - Software is tough. You don't just cut and paste your way to a new operational model - you have to tear down legacy structures, which means reformatting data, and design new process models that leverage Remote Data Access to distributed NVDIMMS in arrays of servers connected using more efficient networking protocols.
I see Intel, major cloud providers and core applications owners coming out winners. This leaves pure play infrastructure providers working hard to get a piece of the pie before it becomes a crumb. I don't think this is a 20 year transition easily less than 10 but more than 5.