At last year’s Dell Storage Forum, the talk was about EqualLogic, Compellent, Ocarina, and Exanet.
This year, the talk is about Dell storage.
That represents a significant shift in the way Dell and its channel partners think about the vendor’s storage offerings.
Dell last year was coming off the recent acquisition of Compellent, and there were concerns about how Dell would handle it, plus its other acquisitions over the previous few years starting with EqualLogic in 2008. And while Dell was talking about plans to integrate the different storage technologies, it was just beginning that journey. So the focus at Dell Storage Forum 2011 was on the different components.
What a difference a year makes.
At Dell Storage Forum 2012, the focus is on Dell storage, not on Dell storage components. Sure, there was news related to converged infrastructures based on a new blade-based version of the EqualLogic array, and about adding unified SAN-NAS management capabilities to the Compellent offering.
But the news, rather than confuse the issue of how Dell will juggle its various brands, solidified the focus on specific brands. Ocarina? That’s just the compression and dedupe technology that has wound its way into Dell EqualLogic storage and is on the way to being part of Dell Compellent. Exanet? That’s the Dell Fluid File System behind the NAS heads now tied into Dell Compellent and Dell EqualLogic.
It’s all about Dell now. More specifically, it’s all about a very confident Dell that’s able to go toe-to-toe with storage technology from the big boys such as EMC, NetApp, HP, and IBM. It’s all about a Dell that not only has written the book on how to integrate disparate storage technologies into a (eventual) whole, but has quite possibly taken the lead from HP and Cisco in integrating server, storage, and networking technology into a converged infrastructure.
The new Dell, in moving from its roots as a PC reseller to acquiring the bits and pieces of a data center strategy to actually building a solid, focused data center strategy, is not done. There will be more acquisitions, more integration, perhaps even more angst from bumps in the road to being a true enterprise data center vendor. But Dell is making it clear that it knows what it is doing, and where it is going.