Dell Puts Aside $60M for Big Data Storage Startups

Michael Dell was one of the speakers at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, and he elaborated on the newest element of his company’s storage company.

Dell is evolving. The hardware vendor, which makes most of its income from selling desktops to consumers and organizations, is shifting towards higher-margins areas such as data center equipment and cloud, with a very big emphasis on storage in particular. At last month’s Dell Storage Forum it was made very clear that the company’s commitment to this market is only expanding, and this week its founding CEO disclosed yet another detail.

Dell is launching a $60 million fund that will seek out and sponsor storage startups, noting an “enormous opportunity” for new companies.  And while storage and cloud are big areas of interest for Dell and its rivals, Michael Dell wants to focus less on pure storage with the new fund, and instead on helping companies accessing and using in real time the large quantities of data they already have.

“The storage world is really getting shaken up a tremendous amount,” Dell said, pointing to technologies like flash memory. He said the goal of the fund is to “get out in front” of these new technologies.”

Dell has historically been very willing to invest in new trends. Compellent and EqualLogic are two assets that it acquired and are now playing a huge role in its storage strategy, while M&A is also playing a big role in other areas. The manufacturer  was willing to pay a sizable amount for a company called SonicWall – a firm that makes networking security software used by over 300,000 customers. SonicWall joins Force 10, another company that Dell bought out which is already heavily integrated into its existing data center product line up.