Special Focus

Dell Details His Plans to Reinvent the Company

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 05, 2013

Fresh off winning the battle to take his namesake company private, Michael Dell gave the opening keynote at the recent Oracle (News - Alert) OpenWorld.

“The rumors are true,” Dell’s founder, chairman and CEO, who is doing a $25 billion buyout of the company along with equity firm Silver Lake Partners, told the audience in San Francisco. “There was a shareholder vote, and we’re taking the company private.”

Why take the company private? For the benefit of Dell (News - Alert) customers, he said.

He touched on Dell’s heritage in PCs, which he noted drove productivity and technology deeper into businesses, enabling collaboration and information sharing across the globe, and more efficient movement of goods and services. Today, he said, we see the same kind of opportunity with cloud, social, mobile, and big data, all of which needs to be secured.

Dell has been working to enable all that, he said, and over the past five years invested more than $13 billion to get the job done. In the last year alone, he said, Dell has spent $5 billion to build solutions to position it as a leader in the enterprise.

Its success won’t be measured just in the short term but also by the longer-term future, he said. Of course, being a private company will enable Dell to have more flexibility in pursuing a long-term strategy because it won’t be beholden to Wall Street.

The Dell strategy, through which the company hopes to transform itself from a hardware entity to a services business, is built around the following imperatives: transform, connect, inform and connect.

Transform is about modernizing the technology environment, be that modernizing applications, moving off a mainframe, or onto a cloud, as a few examples. Dell is uniquely positioned to help companies transform on these fronts because it is unencumbered by legacy solutions; it wants to outfit customers with the most agile and affordable solutions.

At this point in the presentation, Dell mentioned that the company is No. 1 in x86 server market share in Asia, North America, and worldwide. Of course, industry-standard x86 servers are expected to be the platforms on which network elements will run in the new networks functions virtualization and software-defined networking realms.

“We’re seeing the rise of the software-defined everything,” said Dell. “And that’s causing the server to be the center of everything.”

He went on to talk about Flash memory innovations and other tiers of memory to optimize performance, and said that Dell’s VRTX server is like a private cloud in a box and is super easy to manage. You can manage a thousand VRTX devices in one environment, he said, and in a compact footprint. Dell added that VRTX is way ahead of everything else in the market place.

As part of the transform part of the conversation, Dell also brought up Boomi. This is an integration platform as a service that Dell bought; it interconnects apps and/or data so you can link and flow data, wherever that data is. It’s widely in use today; in fact, Boomi is the basis of the largest integration cloud out there today, said Dell.

In terms of the connect imperative, Dell said the company realizes PCs are still very important and very widely used, but also talked about the broad adoption of the virtual client. The company is also moving aggressively into tablets, including tablets for consumers. Dell told the Oracle OpenWorld crowd that the company would be making news in the tablet realm shortly.

When it comes to the term inform, Dell is referring to the fact that data is growing big time, and organizations can use it to drive desired outcomes. Dell and its partners are working to help them do that by delivering comprehensive solutions for data analytics, he said. Dell already enables tens of thousands of customers to make data more useful and manageable, he said, and Oracle is a key Dell partner on this initiative.

Then there’s the protect part of the equation, which of course relates to security – a top concern of all Dell customers, he said. Dell generates $1 billion in revenue related to security alone. SecureWorks is among Dell’s solutions on this front; it offers managed security for big banks, pharmaceutical businesses, and others for which security is of the utmost importance, he said.

Dell also welcomed to the stage Deal Daly, senior director of technical operations at Ancestry.com, a customer of the tech company. Daly told the story of how traditional IT would not support the business at Ancestry.com, which now has 2.7 million subscribers, manages 10 petabytes of dynamic structured and unstructured data, has seen contributed content increase by six times since 2009, and expects to spend $100 million in the next five years to acquire new content.

So it worked with Dell to find a solution that relies on rack configurations with different compute on each rack. They assembled 13 racks per pod, and we can replicate them anywhere in the world. Dell also developed for the company a supply chain model, which delivers the racks in a near on-demand method. All that will enable Ancestry.com to be more agile today and in the future, Daly said.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi