History of Dell enterprise building

Dell’s acquisition strategy began in earnest seven years ago as the company started its journey to focus on the IT requirements of larger businesses.

In 2008, Dell

entered the enterprise storage market with the $1.4bn acquisition of Equalogic. In 2011 it bought virtualised storage provider Compellent for $940m.

A paper from Enterprise Strategy Group Dell in 2013 reported that Compellent SC8000 modular storage was four to six times lower than all-flash storage . According to ESG, Dell Compellent also provided 3.5 to 8.75 times more capacity.

While it has certainly developed a storage business, From a enterprise perspective, industry commentators have previously stated that Dell’s product portfolio mainly catered for the small and mid-sized enterprises.

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In a keynote presentation at the Dell Technology Camp in Paris, Michael Dell outlined how the newly re-privatised firm will target the enterprise.

Dell still has some work to do to educate the enterprise about what it has to offer.

According to analyst IDC, in 2015 spending on storage was up 3.6% to $36.2bn, while capacity consumption grew 43% to 99.2 exabytes.

A successful bid and purchase of EMC will give Dell a much-needed boost in the enterprise storage market, and enable the company to ride the wave of data growth driving the digital economy.

But for many enterprises, Dell’s bid puts a question mark over the future of VMware, the market leader in server virtualisation, which is a subsidiary of EMC. To date, VMware has kept the influence of its parent company at arm’s length. Its Evo:rail hyperconverged infrastructure can be preconfigured on HP and Dell onverged infrastructure hardware.

Dell has promised to keep VMware a public company. “VMware will remain a publicly-traded company and continue to provide customers value through leading software-defined datacentre technology, together with its cloud, mobile and desktop offerings. This transaction is expected to accelerate VMware’s growth across all of its businesses through significant synergies with Dell’s solutions and go-to-market channels. VMware remains committed to investing in and partnering with its strong, industry ecosystem,” the company stated.

In a recent Computer Weekly article, Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom noted: “At the hardware level, Dell has embraced convergence. The PowerEdge FX2 system brings together server, storage and network equipment, along with management software to challenge the likes of HP’s Converged Systems, VCE Vblocks and Cisco UCS.”

Dell also partners with Nutanix on a rival converged appliance for virtualising servers. If Dell succeeds in its bid for EMC, the hardware independence of VMware will be questioned.

Another challenge Dell will face is how to combine cloud and on-premise IT, according to Forrester research director Glenn O’Donnell. He said “One question that keeps popping up is how this will work with the cloud. Cloud is growing fast, but in-house technology will remain important for a long time.

“The big game for every tech giant is how they can straddle the on-premises and cloud-based worlds. These two must work as one seamless environment. For most companies, this is not yet the case. Dell can make some good progress in this direction with EMC in the fold.”