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Dell Expands, Enhances Storage Portfolio

Dell is continuing the evolution of its home-grown storage portfolio with additions to the EqualLogic family and further integration with the Compellent and PowerVault lines. The company, which carved out a multibillion-dollar storage business reselling EMC products, announced the EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 virtualized, IP-based storage systems, as well as details on integration across its storage portfolio with the forthcoming VMware vSphere 5 virtualization and cloud infrastructure platform.

According to a new commentary from analyst Greg Richardson, Technology Business Research (TBR), Dell is leveraging acquisitions to transform from a vendor of high-volume compute products to a provider of enterprise-focused solutions, spearheaded by services. "Although Dell's dissolution of its EMC relationship led to an overall storage revenue decline of 20% year-to-year in 2Q11, the company is actively pursuing long-term profitability by expanding its owned portfolio of storage solutions, which generated a 15% revenue increase in 2Q11. By holding the reins to storage technology development, Dell controls more of its storage development roadmap, enabling the company to foster integration between its storage and compute portfolios, leading to cross-selling opportunities."

TBR expects Dell to generate near-term storage revenue momentum by remaining true to its roots, supporting midmarket deployments in industries such as the public sector, in which it has strong traction, while laying a trajectory to future growth by establishing proof points of its capabilities to penetrate new verticals, such as financial services and telecommunications.

In June, Dell held its inaugural Storage Forum, outlining how it is evolving from reseller to OEM, including the addition of more than 5,000 resources focused on the development of enterprise solutions and services. Currently the company's intellectual property generates about $2 billion in revenues, says Travis Vigil, executive director, Dell Storage, and it wants to grow storage to $4 to $5 billion in annual sales.

Since buying EqualLogic in November 2007, Dell has grown the number of customers eight times, and Vigil says it is seeing an even faster ramp-up with Compellent, which is celebrating its six-month anniversary with Dell with a four-times surge in the sales pipeline. He adds that Dell generated more Compellent business in the first quarter than the company did on its own in 2010.

Targeted at small-to-midsize businesses or remote office locations, the PS4100 Series SANs support up to 36 TBytes in a single array and can scale seamlessly by adding additional PS4100 or PS6100 arrays. Providing up to 72 TBytes in a single array and 1.2 petabytes in a single group, the PS6100 Series is aimed at midsize customers looking for an IP-based storage solution to support highly virtualized data center environment. As a result of the new compact form factor, PS6100 customers can achieve the same performance for their typical workload using half the number of arrays, and receive 50% more expansion capacity when compared with previous-generation EqualLogic arrays, says Vigil.

Dell also announced a new set of VMware-specific enhancements for its EqualLogic, Compellent and PowerVault customers. These enhancements, due out in the next two quarters, include Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for VMware 3.1, Dell Compellent Storage Replication Adapter for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 and Dell PowerVault Integration with VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5. The company also announced enhancements to Dell EqualLogic SAN Headquarters 2.2 software and Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools for Microsoft 4.0.

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