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The new Dell talks up cloud, convergence, but networking plans vague

The new Dell Technologies is bullish on hybrid cloud, convergence and cloud-native applications for enterprises, but Dell networking plans weren't in the spotlight.

Dell wrapped up its $60 billion acquisition of EMC, promising to provide enterprise customers a wide array of technologies that will center on cloud, hyper-convergence and software-defined architectures, with only oblique references to Dell networking plans. The combined company, now known as Dell Technologies, spans networking, storage, cloud software and, through EMC's ownership of VMware, server and networking virtualization technologies.

"This is a fantastic day for our business," said Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, at a press conference highlighting the merger's conclusion. "We can do more to advance innovation and scale than any other company on the planet. I'm not just talking about transformation in the digital world, but the entire world."

What effect the merger will have on the vendor's networking plans is still to be determined. Market watchers expect more announcements to be made now that the acquisition -- which took nearly 11 months to complete -- is done. Dell has made only a handful of networking-related announcements in the past year, as the company concentrated on finalizing its purchase of EMC. Among those announcements were a new campus core switch and the introduction of a new OS expected to underpin all of Dell's data center infrastructure products -- possibly including those from EMC. Dell has also embraced bare-metal switching, allowing some of its data center switches to be run with OS software from Cumulus Networks.

Dell to expand its footprint

We can do more to advance innovation and scale than any other company on the planet.
Michael DellCEO, Dell Technologies

With VMware -- which will remain a publicly held company -- and EMC under its belt, Dell will now look to expand its footprint, targeting large enterprises and corporations with a more comprehensive stable of products. Hyper-convergence -- melding storage, compute and virtualization -- will likely be one area where Dell will pour its new resources, along with tools enabling enterprises to build out their cloud-based infrastructures and helping customers integrate traditional business applications with native cloud applications.

David Goulden, president of the infrastructure solutions group at Dell EMC -- EMC's new moniker --said cloud will be a priority for the company. "As we know, in many different forms, cloud is a huge opportunity," he said, citing the trend among enterprises to adopt hybrid clouds. "Our strategy and our portfolio enable customers to build new cloud-native applications, so they can make the move to digital and run their traditional applications [there], because their business depends on them today."

Giving companies the resources to manage how they run traditional and cloud-native applications will be another area of focus, and within this market segment, Goulden said the combination of VMware, Virtustream, RSA and SecureWorks will give Dell a competitive edge.

"With Dell infrastructure and VMware, we can offer the best converged and hyper-converged infrastructure. And with automation from VMware, we can help customers build public and hybrid clouds," he said.

How successful the new Dell Technologies will become will likely depend on how well it meshes its various products, said Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., in Boulder, Colo. "Dell has an opportunity to really boost its network switching business by bundling and integrating its products with EMC, VCE and VMware," he said. "A lot of customers will push back and say they want to stay with their preferred vendor, but some will be intrigued by the simplicity and cost savings offered by a well-integrated product portfolio.

"All the regulatory issues involved with a merger have forced them to be quiet in the market, with the exception of divestitures like Dell Software," McGillicuddy continued. "With the deal closed, I expect them to roll out a lot of new product updates across the business."

Editorial Director Kate Gerwig and SearchNetworking Associate Editor Eamon McCarthy Earls contributed to this report.

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