Dell World: New products, new strategy

Dell’s annual tech conference, held in its home state of Texas, allows the company to connect with business and IT stakeholders, such as VPs, CIOs, developers, analysts and the international press. As the only South African tech media present at the event in October, The Margin was there to report back what Dell has in store for the near future.



During the opening press conference, founder and CEO Michael Dell said CIOs are trying to fund digital transformation by reducing cost in the infrastructure, and there’s a move to virtualisation and hyper-converged systems. “It’s important to lead in the next wave of IT, and the combination of Dell and EMC gives us a leadership in that position,” he said.

He commented that the deal would give Dell “an incredible position in the future of tomorrow”. Key to that is the Internet of Things (IoT) and Michael Dell noted “all those new devices are going to need some form of storage” – a further nod to the EMC deal. If the Dell-EMC deal comes to completion in mid-2016 it will go into the history books as the largest tech deal to date and result in two separate divisions, one of which will be enterprise-focused.

The other division will be looking after consumer products and midmarket companies.

VMware, a subsidiary of EMC, will remain a publicly traded company. What the pending Dell-EMC merger specifically means for the South African channel remains unclear. However, it would be safe to argue that current and future Dell customers could deal with even fewer suppliers.

With EMC’s product and service portfolio under Dell’s wings, the company will be able to offer an even broader range of hardware, software and (cloud) storage/virtualisation solutions, all neatly packed under one roof.

Hybrid cloud

The main keynote also briefly featured a discussion with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the companies’ new cloud partnership focused on delivering the industry’s first integrated, modular hybrid cloud solution. This new system delivers simplified, automated deployment and maintenance capabilities, a new payment solution that should help reduce customer investment risk and better hybrid cloud governance, control, and policy-based automation for Microsoft Azure and other cloud environments.

“The challenges most customers face on their cloud journey are clear,” said Jim Ganthier, VP & GM of engineered solutions and cloud at Dell. “They tell us it’s too complex, the cost-risk is too high, and control isn’t transparent.”

Scott Guthrie, executive VP cloud and enterprise at Microsoft added: “Customers want to simplify and accelerate their journey to the cloud, Microsoft and Dell are extending their collaboration to remove many of the traditional barriers to hybrid cloud.”

Better safe than sorry

Dell also announced a complete new range of end-to-end security products including firewalls, switches, wireless access points, cloud identity management software and improved e-mail security solutions. Curtis Hutcheson, VP and GM of Dell Security, stated: “Attacks and hacks on business assets continue to be a common occurrence and are becoming more sophisticated. It’s imperative for organisations to implement a solid security strategy that protects them not just today, but for the future.”

This translates into new opportunities for local resellers to offer their customers even better protection against hackers and malware.

Internet of Things

Further building on the value of IoT to Dell’s vision, the company announced a dedicated Edge Gateway 5000 server to manage the new plethora of IoT devices, sensors and data. This ‘mini-server’ features a full range of analytic capabilities, expanded I/O options and is specifically designed to operate in extreme environments. The Gateway 5000 server allows for operating system flexibility with choices that include Linux and Windows 10.

“Organisations are struggling to make the best decisions regarding the data volume and complexity created by the vast numbers of sensors, embedded systems and connected devices now on the network,” said Andy Rhodes, executive director, commercial IOT solutions at Dell. “As more of the data is processed in real time, at the edge of the network, the gateway becomes the spam filter for IoT.”

This means South African resellers can offer their customers new, innovative ways to gather, manage and analyse large amounts of data to be used for strategic and competitive advantage.

Anticipating the next-gen workforce

To better meet the demands and requirements of the next-generation workforce and workplace, Dell announced a refresh of its OptiPlex workstations, featuring new hardware and a smaller form factor. In addition, a brand new VMware-compatible thin client and new printing solutions were launched.

“We’re defining the future of the PC and the role it plays in meeting our customers’ most pressing computing needs,” said Jeff Clarke, vice-chairperson of operations and president of client solutions at Dell. “We’re investing in this part of our business like never before, bringing new innovations to market that are redefining the role of the PC – whether it’s an ultra-mobile two-in-one, thin or zero client or a desktop that now handles workloads for a mobile workforce who require a robust collaboration solution.”

The raft of new hardware and software, that has been designed to better connect with today’s requirements, will provide new sales opportunities for Dell’s channel partners.

Disclosure: The Margin’s attendance at this event was fully sponsored by Dell.

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