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Dell EMC Empowering Channel for Transformation Journey

At the recently held Canalys Channels Forum in Hong Kong – Alan Atkinson, SVP Technology & Strategy Global Commercial Sales at Dell EMC speak with Anuj Singhal from itVARnews about the channel strategy and innovations across Dell EMC portfolio.

Cloud a decade back was pitched as cost effective solution, then it was about agility and scalability, and the new mantra is innovation on cloud. What is its current value proposition?

Alan Atkinson, SVP Technology & Strategy Global Commercial Sales, Dell EMC

We have been saying that it is going to be multi cloud hyper cloud world. I think if you go back five years ago what you would have heard everything is going to public cloud & dell will be dead  but that’s not the case at all. We are actually seeing growth rate. But I think the right answer is multi cloud, hyper cloud world where VMware is the primary enabler of the hyper cloud. So if you look at it what we have done around the cloud story is really kind of the arm around or the easy button to get to the hyper cloud and we are going to align with that vision. There is number of other non-conflicting thing where we have built cloud DR and cloud capabilities in our in data protection and primary storage products. I can go on into that list but I think you want the high level picture of what we are doing on the cloud native development side what we are doing with the VMware around hyper cloud enabler I will point to that.

How is your datacentre strategy aligned with newer technologies like AI, blockchain and analytics? How do you differentiate from your competition to couple modern architecture and scalability?

I think our real advantage is the Dell technology portfolio. We have got VMware & Pivotal as a part of the family wherein, Pivotal is probably the industry leading development platform for cloud native and Vmware is the most standard and commonly adopted datacentre virtualisation and cloud enabling platform that will include both server virtualisation and network virtualisation and I think being part of the same company Dell technologies with a common vision across, that is something which no other infrastructure proprietor can claim.

When you talk about blockchain, AI and machine learning they are probably very closely related. There is obviously a big buzz around these and AI is obviously not a new term it has been tossed around for 60 plus years. I think what really changed is a lot out of it is possible now. So what new is things like 5G, IoT, solid state storage, some of the density things that are happening in processing, protocol things like NVMe (Non volatile memory express) deployments basically moving computer storage closer together. We have got all of the pieces that are necessary for the best foundation in the industry. I mean data is the fuel here and all about how you manage the data, how you store and how you analyse it. I think if you look at NVMe, solid state, processor improvement, software defined datacentre we have got industry based storage in all of those. If you look at 5G adoption we can see the emergence of robust edge computing because there is no time to go back to the central place, very low latency interconnection and 5G is going to be huge part of that and ultimately an incredible data explosion and that data explosion is what we are ready to take advantage of and is part of the hyper cloud storage we just now talked about. That is also part of NVMe and what’s going on with the compute franchise and also part of the solid state density replacing today’s disk and all of that. Frankly that thinking goes on to everything we are designing right now.

How is Dell’s datacentre strategy enabling customers overcome their business transformation challenges? What are your observations around HCI adoption in India? What makes Dell uniquely positioned in this space?

The entire company is focused on the 4 critical transformation and if you look at our website you will see a lot of stuff around it. I think when you look at our results especially the share data than financial data, you will see a very strong performance of all the datacentre products. So if you see servers were up considerably above the market, storage is gaining share for the last two quarters we are gaining shares in networking in the last two quarters and HCI is totally on fire. These goes across all our product lines. HCI is an interesting one, not only it’s a different paradigm for computing but we see it as storage puzzle software layer and builds in a lot of east west traffic but we like between our server franchise and our VMware relationship, we are very well positioned in that area and I think particularly with the VxRail take off you can see that’s true, so we have triple digit growth VxRail and the product is billion dollars in revenue which is I think fairly impressive. HCI and storage are areas in which we need to win and I think we have reasonably balanced control in both.

In the digital transformation world, partners face the challenge to move beyond just talking to CIOs, but interact with LoBs, CSOs or CFOs as buying power and IT budgets have shifted at their customer end. How does Dell help channels grapple with these new buyers and also new business models like OPEX?

I think what we are seeing happen over the last 3 years, is that if you pick up any magazine you can see an article on IT on the first four pages and that is a very different thing than the world we were in where IT was kind of geeked on. Now there is a business imperative and every company I talk to have a mobile strategy, retail shop, digital portal. Security is top of the mind for everyone and that has basically fundamentally shifted IT and particularly is business driven. Infrastructure is important but being able to tie that together with stories about next generation app development, Virtualisation, network virtualisation it really enables the transformation story and that’s what CEOs want to talk about.

We spent quite a lot of time with our partners and our distributors going about on that message why bringing all these companies together and creating Dell technologies  a game changer because here it is not a storage company but an infrastructure company  and I believe that’s resonated. If you look at not only at our share numbers but our earnings numbers & also look at the acceleration of channel in particular. If you look in our channel growth we are doing solid double digit gains across the region. I would challenge you name another company who is better positioned on digital transformation as far breadth of portfolio, completeness of vision, I believe that has gotten to our channel partners. We have gone from healthy scepticism to quite large enthusiasm with our channel partners. We have done what we said, we are streamlining and simplifying things, we are doubling down on our leadership of VMware and Pivotal we are looking at end to end around multi cloud and hyper cloud.

Data is going to be very critical now all of us are aware of the fact, any innovation around your storage portfolio?

I will recall last year everything from the PowerMax launch and NVMe you know it is the best end to end NVMe product in the market. Some of the performance improvements we have made on the midrange to the new entry level products we have launched in September and October. If you look forward, you know we have already announced that we are going to rationalise our portfolio by basically building a next generation midrange and that will be fully seamlessly  migratable from our existing products going into live. We think that increased focus and simplification is what the industry wants you know we are industry leaders and we tend to stay that way and there is a ton of investment going on.

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