During Michael Dell’s keynote presentation at Dell World 2014 the CEO emphasized the company’s renewed customer focus and how they’re leveraging the 2 billion customer conversations they have every year. He didn’t go into how this number was calculated but Dell does have close to 100,000 employees. He also mentioned several times the freedom they have after taking the company private a year ago.
90-Day Shot Clock
He talked about the turmoil that often befalls public corporations, the reorganizations and divestitures, etc, and asked who all this churn really benefits. “Did someone wake up and think that customers and partners are going to love the chaos, the dis-synergies, the complication?” He went on to say how creating success for customers and partners also creates long-term success for the company. As he mentioned earlier, they’re no longer operating under the “90-day shot clock” of a public company.
Leading in Storage and PCs
Delll is now on a strong growth path, especially when compared with their peers, and Dell restated their performance in the storage market as proof. They’re #1 in total TB sold, #1 in DAS and #1 in iSCSI attached storage.
He mentioned how the story that the PC is dead is just that, a story, reminding that many of the 1.8 billion PCs in use are “deeply embedded in the infrastructure of how our world works”. Indeed, Dell sees the PC as increasingly strategic, calling it the “hub of the internet of things”.
One stated objective when the company went private was to invest in their PC business, an industry in which they’re leading. According to IDC, the PC industry (selling 350 million units a year) is enjoying 4.3% annual growth. However, Dell pointed out that without his company’s 19.7% increase over last year, the industry as a whole only grew 0.2%.
At Dell World the company announced a number of new products, which Michael Dell highlighted. These are:
13th Generation PowerEdge server – a 2U chassis that can support 100TB of storage, enough for 100,000 1GB Exchange mailboxes. It’s also ideal as a software-defined storage platform.
SC4020 – a new Compellent array in both spinning disk and flash configurations (or hybrid) that starts at $25,000. This is the array that Dell executive Travis Vigil talked about in our video interview.
PS4210 – a new hardware generation of Dell’s EqualLogic iSCSI platform that now supports flash SSDs as well as traditional disk drives and generates 80,000 IOPS – for under $15,000. See an upclose look in this video from the Dell Solutions Expo.
PowerEdge FX Series – a “cloud in a box”. These are 2U enclosures configured with four 1U, half-width “resource blocks” that support converged compute, storage, networking and management configurations.
XC Web-scale Converged Appliance – this is the GA release of the Dell solution featuring Nutanix’s converged software from the partnership that was announced in June. It adds the resources and stability of Dell to this innovative converged technology. We covered the topic of how the “normal” data center can leverage Web-scale in this webinar, now available on demand.
XA90 Storage Server – a 4U chassis that holds up to 90 x 3.5” disk drives. This system can support 720TB of storage, creating new levels of storage density in the hyperscale data center.
As I mentioned in a the previous post, Michael Dell seems like a new man, thrilled about coming to work in the morning now that Wall Street is off his back. Free to make strategic, long-term decisions, Dell seems to be embracing the changes in the industry and using their position as one of the primary hardware manufacturers to lead in the software-defined storage and converged infrastructure markets.
My colleague George Crump has a favorite saying, “hardware matters”; referring to the fact that software-defined solutions are only as good as the hardware they’re running on. Dell takes this a step further, adding the products and services needed to create an end-to-end solution out of what for some companies may be a do-it-yourself project. While the wide-open designs of the web-scale data center are indeed flowing out to the enterprise, vendors like Dell are finding that most of their customers still want to buy comprehensive solutions from a tier-one supplier and their partners.