This week’s Dell Storage Forum can definitely be categorized as a big milestone for the company’s hardware line, which is currently undergoing a major shift across multiple fronts. First and foremost, storage is becoming a much bigger focus for Dell, and it shows.
Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman talked about the relatively fast-paced shift in the vendor’s approach that we’re witnessing now. Dell’s enterprise business used to be similar to its PC group in that the company acted, for the most part, as only a reseller of other brands’ data center equipment. This has changed in the past few years, thanks to a number of acquisitions (or the ‘war chest’, in Miniman’s words) that brought in a lot of new resources and engineering muscle – assets that are now a key part of Dell’s own IP.
We’ve seen some of the fruits of the company’s decision-making at the event. One of the products that were introduces in the conference is the Dell’s M1000e blade chassis, which couples PowerEdge M620 servers and Force 10 GbE switches with some complimentary software: replication, cloning, thin provisioning and load balancing and a number of other capabilities are included.
SAN software, a new blade data center system and a number of other offerings were introduced as well. And when the floodgates started to close further into the event, the focus shifted to the future. Flash was at the center of discussion, and at the same time Dell made a big move to please shareholders.
The manufacturer said it will start a quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share, an effort to reaffirm investors while the company is still getting things sorted out. On the long run, the emphasis on the rather high-margin enterprise space has a lot of potential to show some real results.