Michael,

You don’t know me but I know you (or, at least, your company branch here in italy), 😉

I’m a Dell’s Italian partner for Server and storage.

I met your representatives yesterday morning, we shared a lot of thoughts about the Dell recent past and near future, and here is this open letter to you to add my personal opinion on the rumors we hear every day.

I’m not a financial analyst nor a banker and I don’t own stocks of any company mentioned in this article, but I live every day in the field speaking with customers and listening to their needs, so I think I have something to say to my partners to try to get the best from them.

Well, the foundations of the official Dell’s strategy are to gain market share in the enterprise datacenters space widening the product portfolio. Your declared acquisition campaign (8 acquisitions per year target is a little late -the end of the year is around the corner- but I hope to see something more very soon).

We heard a lot of rumors in the recent past regard the possible interest in acquiring companies like Compellent, CommVault, Isilon, Brocade. But I think, as per average spending for your acquisitions, there are other valuable options too.

 

the well known rumored targets

Compellent

(I’m also a Compellent’s partner so I know what i’m talking about) Compellent is a very good product but it isn’t the right choice for you, there are a lot of overlaps with the Equallogic offering, they cost a lot and your sales forces will be constrained to sell only one of two at a time minimizing the overall investments!

If customers ask for FC storage you can put some development effort on FCoE, in a more scale-up fashion or in some -now leaking- features.

Isilon

Isilon is gone. happy for EMC but I hope that the reincarnation of Exanet will let us be happier in the long term. Exanet will be the right fit for Equllogic to be able to scale out and offer a true unified storage (block+file) solution.

CommVault

If I’m right, you are the most important worldwide CommVault reseller! And you are the only big vendor not owning a backup solution! I don’t know the real value of CommVault and I don’t have the tools to calculate the ROI of such an acquisition but I think it might be one of the names in your short list.

Brocade

FC and IP networking: You don’t own them now and you’re going to need them badly in the near future. Your blades haven’t an I/O virtualization layer (like HP blades, CISCO UCS or IBM with CISCO). The networking stuff is one of the most important weapons in the datacenter space and in the technology stacks race! Big datacenter and cloud projects must have a good networking stuff foundations (or better: everything is based on good networking stuff!). What are still you waiting for? Not to mention that I’m sure that other big vendors (i.e. IBM?) could be very interested in acquiring Brocade!

 

the less rumored, but very interesting, targets

Exagrid or Sepaton or Quantum

You haven’t a VTL or any tape offering! Ok, tapes market isn’t growing but VTLs are fundamental for every IT shop (and Quantum has also some good tape libraries). Each one of the three companies mentioned above have pros and cons but they all have good core dedupe technology. Your partnership with EMC is cooling down very fast: every Datadomain VTL you sell is a newcustomer for EMC. How many time do you need to build a VTL upon the Ocarina core technologies? Probably you need one of them soon.

Xsigo

why not? Probably they don’t even cost that much! They have a very cool product based on infiniband technology, way better than FCoE, you could integrate it in your blades chassis in little time.  You are already partnering with them but your sales force isn’t confident and customers are worried to buy products for the core of their stack from such a small company! If you will buy them, things will change drastically. (moreover, the integration in the blade chassis will cut down costs and will enhance the competitiveness of the solution)

Arista Networks

Another small company but with awesome engineered products! They could be the killer for core networking, (very well positioned to deploy very high performance and dense ethernet networks). Here again, these switches, when integrated in your blades platform, can make the difference but, wait: Xsigo virtualization layer software coupled with the Arista powerful hardware design could produce something great in the long term!

Well, everyone in the industry is trying to suggest you what to do next and I’m just the last one to add his two cents to the discussion, so take it like a santa’s letter sent to the wrong address 🙂