For a massive IT company, Dell sure doesn’t get the kind of respect given their competitors. Time and again, I’ll hear the sneers about Dell being little more than a â€œbox shifterâ€ who doesn’t â€œgetâ€ real enterprise IT needs. After a series of acquisitions in storage and networking, Dell is trying to stake a claim as a serious competitor to HP, IBM, Oracle, and the like. But why should anyone take Dell seriously, especially in enterprise storage?
The news came out this morning that Dell is in exclusive talks to acquire network storage specialist Compellent for just under $900 million. I will leave it to the real reporters to track the ups and downs of the story; what piques my interest is the value Dell gets from Compellent’s technology and the challenge it poses to the data storage industry.
After years spent focusing on personal technology, businesses are increasingly turning back to the enterprise. The corporate IT market is much more dynamic and competitive, with a few very large “superpower” companies discovering their power to drive purchasing decisions. If a supplier can create an integrated “stack” of hardware and software, they can push product purchases that might otherwise be overlooked or postponed. This is the main reason that enterprise IT acquisitions work so well: Where a small company must fight to sell their product, a large one can hitch it to a much more strategic sale and have it pulled along.
The storage industry got a lot more competitive this morning, as Dell announced plans to buy 3Par. This is the latest round in a well-established race for the enterprise storage dollar, challenging superpower (and Dell partner) EMC in the high-end SAN space. What does this acquisition say about the industry as a whole? Where are we headed?
The CEO Shuffle is in full force in the IT infrastructure industry. Geoff Barrall, founder and CEO of Data Robotics, recently stepped aside for Tom Buiocchi, and Alex Bakman of VKernel shifted to CTO, bringing in Doug McNary. Now Panasas and ParaScale are replacing their CEOs with industry veterans. The message is clear: The economy is improving, and investors want their portfolio companies to begin growing again.
Dell picked up clustered NAS pro Exanet, finally signing the dotted line after months of speculation. The US $12 million purchase follows reports that the company was going into receivership in December after failing to repay a US $10 million loan from Kreos Capital.