Dell takes shots at HP, continues IT services push

AUSTIN, TX. On the eve of its first ever Dell World conference,company executives took a few digs at rival HP Co. and released newenhancements aimed at rebranding itself as an end-to-end IT services vendor.

Speaking at a media and analysts preview event in Austin, Tx., CEO Michael Dellstressed the importance of his company’s recent acqusitions  — including Compellent,Force10, Ocarina Networks and KACE Systems — which has broadened Dell’sfocus from a hardware devices firm to a full stop IT solutions company.

He added that Dell has shifted from a “product or box” focus to an enterprisefocused data centre solutions provider.

“You’re going to be hearing more about the new Dell, which is an end-to-endservice provider,” Dell said.

The “new Dell,” which is more concerned with connecting legacy apps and cloudapps together than with selling PCs, now appears poised to tackle HP’sbusiness.

The company teamed up with Technology Business Research to release a new surveythis week culling data from 130 of HP’s large U.S. customers.

Dell said that 46 per cent of respondents are now less likely to purchase HPproducts and services, with roughly the same amount of respondents saying theywere investigating alternatives to using HP PCs and mobile devices.

The survey findings, Dell said, confirm what the company has been hearing frommany CIOs, nervous about their long-term technology investments.

“There’s an opportunity that’s been created by turmoil and uncertainity at oneof our major competitiors,” Dell’s CEO said, referring to HP.

To highlight this shift, Dell’s first announcements at Dell World week includednew enhancements to its Dell vStart virtualization solution and upgrades to itsdata storage compression and data dedupe technology.

On the virtualization front, Dell said it is adding Compellent and Force10capabilities into its vStart offering, available in 2012. With vStart, Dellpre-tests virtualized infrastructure setups before pushing it along to the enduser.

With the storage update, Dell announced the addition of compressioncapabilities for the Dell DX Object Storage Platform. The move will utlize thecompany’s Ocarina Networks acqusition and will eventually offer customers theability to compress stored data by up to 90 per cent.

But while Dell said he was more focused on the complete package for customersand not the device, the chief executive assured customers that its clientdevice business isn’t going away anytime soon.

“There are a billion and a half PCs in the world, that seems to me like a prettybig number,” Dell said. “The estimates are that they’ll be 2 billion PCs in afew years, so it’s a growth market.”

Dell said that the client device continues to be part of the total IT solutionfor businesses.

“To take away part of the solution, we don’t think that makes a lot of sense,”he said, in response to a question about HP’s potential PC division selloff.

Steve Schuckenbrock, the president of Dell Services who formally worked as theglobal CIO for PepsiCo, said IT leaders need to “innovate or die” to stayrelevant at their organizations.

He hopes Dell can help organizations embrace consumerization, which goes beyondthe end user device, to help create dynamic IT environments that take advantageof all the data an organization brings in.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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