Dell acquires Scalent

Is Dell exercising to match HP's or IBM's virtual environment muscle?
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Dell recently announced the intent to acquire Scalent Systems. It appears that Dell is beginning to add tools to create a dynamic virtual environment to its portfolio. Is it excising because it is tired of "having sand kicked in its face" by the bullies on the virtual beach?

Here's what Dell had to say about this move:

Dell announced today (July 1, 2010) it has signed an agreement to acquire Scalent, a private company that provides software that makes data center infrastructure dynamic, easily scalable and highly efficient. Dell will integrate Scalent technology into its Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) solution. Subject to customary closing conditions, Dell expects to complete the acquisition in its second fiscal quarter.

Dell AIM simplifies datacenter management by enabling a single administrator to dynamically allocate compute, storage and network resources for physical and virtual application workloads. This solution enables dynamic deployment and repurposing of infrastructure without the need for physical server, cable or storage area network changes. The solution has built-in high-availability, helping organizations manage infrastructure failures without service disruption. Dell AIM works with industry-standard servers, Ethernet switches and Fibre Channel switches, allowing customers to transition quickly to a highly-dynamic data center using existing infrastructure investments. This open architecture enables customers to leverage their existing infrastructure, dramatically lowering the cost of implementation relative to other industry solutions.

Dell’s new solutions and flexible services free customers to capitalize on the “Virtual Era” of the technology industry and realize new levels of efficiency, with a goal of reducing data management costs by up to 50 percent and making room in budgets for the strategic investments they need to make now. Dell’s Virtual Integrated System brings together an end-to-end solution of state-of-the-art servers, storage, networking, software and management tools to work as one dynamically configurable entity that is open and pragmatic. The result is rapid deployment and responsive infrastructure that helps businesses respond to customers’ and employees’ changing needs. Dell’s solution is a distinct alternative to the closed nature of competitors’ proprietary and vertically integrated stacks.

Snapshot Analysis

If one compares the software portfolio of HP or IBM to Dell, it is easy to see that Dell has preferred to build a strategy of working with partners when creating virtualized environments rather than "muscling up" itself. That being said, Dell has acquired virtualization technology when it thinks it is strategic. The example is Equallogic.

On the one hand, Dell and its ecosystem has the ability to address many, if not all, of organizations' requirements. On the other, the solutions can look like patchwork quilts rather than solutions cut of a single type of cloth.

This could lead to a complex web of organization to supplier relationships. This approach could also become quite complex to manage.

I think Dell is heading in the right direction. As a German proverb says, "The Devil is in the details." It will be interesting to learn what Dell's current partners and customers think about this move.

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