Dell sees opportunities in virtual desktop environments which will allow the hardware maker to provide client devices as well as server and storage equipment for enterprises.
According to Dario Zamarian, Dell's vice president and general manager of networking platform, virtual desktops need three components to work: end-point devices with desktop virtualization software; high-performance storage and servers; and a network connects the first two components to provide users fast bootup, backup recovery and security protection.
Zamarian said Dell wants to target customers with enterprise-grade computer systems, server and storage infrastructure, as well as the networking technology required to support a virtual environment.
He noted that networking played a "huge role" in the data center and this presented an opportunity for Dell's networking business.
"The data center is the place where you have a combination of applications and data coming together in a more economical way, through a virtual environment, which is very different from the traditional way of running a [client-server] data center," he explained.
"The opportunity for us in the data center is not only be strong on the server and storage side, but also to augment that with the fabric of the network," he said. "Without having our own intellectual property, we cannot put together our own product architecture or reference design to the customer."
The company made several acquisitions in the past years to boost its networking portfolio, Zamarian noted. Pointing to the Force10 Networks purchase, which he said was a good fit for the company and a better alternative against "waiting" to build similar products internally.
He added that Dell has an advantage in the data center over traditional networking companies such as Cisco Systems, because it "understands the server and storage side of the story".
Commenting on Huawei's move into the enterprise space, Zamarian noted that while the Chinese telecom equipment vendor is a formidable force in the telecommunication networking scene, tapping the opportunities in the small and midsize business space requires a "very different kind" of knowledge.
Opportunity in China's Web 2.0 market
Mak Chin Wah, director of networking sales commercial business for Asia-Pacific and Japan at Dell Global B.V., said China is currently the company's second biggest market in the region, while Japan is its top market.
Mak added that China is growing faster than the Japan market due to the growth of Internet users and social media.
For Dell, Chinese Web 2.0 companies are its "sweet spot", he added. He said the government's expansion into the western side of the country is also driving Dell's business in China, as more of its Chinese customers move into new territories.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore currently leads Dell's portfolio--accounting for 55 percent of its business in this region--due to the growth of data centers. Mak noted that, by 2015, datacenter space in Singapore will rival those in Australia, despite the former being many times smaller than the continent.