Is Dell becoming the new HP?

Is Dell becoming the new HP?

Summary: So it's official: Dell will no longer resell EMC equipment. This comes as little surprise, as any watcher of Dell's acquisitions will agree.

TOPICS: Networking

So it's official: Dell will no longer resell EMC equipment. This comes as little surprise, as any watcher of Dell's acquisitions will agree.

For ten years, it's been reselling EMC gear but it must have been painful looking at the balance sheets year after year, watching big numbers going into rival EMC's bank accounts.

But no more. Here's an acquisition shortlist: in recent years Dell has bought EqualLogic (iSCSI storage), Exanet (clustered storage), Ocarina (data compression) and Compellent (tiering and storage area networking). As a result, the company's now got pretty much the whole storage stack.

And with object storage supplied by Caringo together with its own hardware -- how long will it be, I wonder, before Dell acquires Caringo? -- the company that started with a young lad assembling and selling PCs from his front room has grown up big time.

Once criticised for being derivative and riding on the coattails of the research of others, Dell is closer than ever to being able to position itself in the same bracket as HP and IBM. It has datacentre networking too, as it bought Force10 Networks in July this year. It even has a consultancy arm, following its acquisition of Perot Systems for almost $4 billion in 2009.

However, it faces the problem associated with all acquisition strategies: the integration of all these technologies under a single management umbrella. It needs to adopt a common approach that provides customers with a reason to trust Dell with all their data. IT admins need to feel that the various storage technologies work as a unit, rather than as a random selection of products. CIOs need to see common pricing structures, and sales people need to talk knowledgeably about a product portfolio that is now both deep and wide.

Above all, Dell needs to build an internal mechanism that provides a common approach to acquisitions to ensure that the brains as well as the technologies stay with the company.

If Dell manages all that, it stands a chance of competing on a level footing with its entrenched rivals.

But what about right now: would you trust Dell with all your IT needs?

Topic: Networking

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.

As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.

I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceovers, event moderation, you name it...

Back story
An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

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  • Great to see Dell starting to stand on its own but their announcement seems a bit combative. We have been a Dell shop for many years and love the portfolio of products they are now able to provide us with. Your Caringo statement is interesting since that is the final piece of the puzzle or "stack." I thought Dell owned all the pieces of their fluid data. Seems Dell is not being smart since they have made a significant move to go against the storage monster but don’t own the whole stack. If EMC or HP or IBM were to buy out Caringo where would that leave the Dell stack?
  • Good question - I think they'd struggle. While it's not the only object storage system out there, the idea of supporting the installed base of a rival's product might hurt a bit. Especially since Dell is going to have to do that for the EMC gear its sold over the years - and there's a lot more of that than Caringo...
    Manek Dubash