We’re days old as Dell Technologies… but already adding new #1’s – now #1 in servers

Frankly, it’s an unbelievably invigorating time here inside Dell and Dell Technologies.   Things are happening fast. Things are happening furiously. Things are happening fantastically.

We believe that the industry is in a phase of disruption. We believe that customers want choice, but also want strong opinionated views. Customers are telling us: “tell us what you think, but don’t tell us what to do… Instead, guide us on the path forward”.

Dell is a one stop shop for our customers and partners who are seeking to evolve their business by transforming their IT, workforce and security.

Our customers not only demand choice in all ways – they partner with those that are the leaders, the best, and in the end, it’s THEM that choose #1, not us, not any of their partners.   The customers choose, the market wins.

Putting a blunt point on it – that’s why we are so focused on the mantra of “#1 in everything, all in one place”.  We believe that big vs. best is a false choice. We believe that scale vs. nimble is a false choice. We believe that trying to shrink your way to success during this period of insane disruption – well, that’s just wrong.   We believe that it IS possible to be “#1 in everything, all in one place”, and be big, and fast.

Whether it’s storage, converged, DC automation, cloud, end-user computing, mobile device management or virtualization, Dell has the right product for the job.  And I’m absolutely pumped to add our PowerEdge server family to this fantastic list.

Both Gartner and IDC* quarterly server market share reports recognized PowerEdge as #1 in server shipments worldwide for the second quarter of 2016. Fact.

What does this have to do with CI/HCI and Solutions? Well – let’s start from the start. At the Converged Platforms and Solutions Division customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we are the leader in converged platforms and solutions.

As the leader, we know that the industry debate of Converged Infrastructure (CI) “versus” Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is wrong, and frankly a childish debate – and something left to those who only do one or the other.   Talk to any ten customers, and it becomes obvious – CI and HCI will co-exist. It’s AND, not OR.

In CI, the system-level design demand the peak of blade system design with the most dense CPU/memory model, as there is an “external storage” SAN thing to deal with storage. This is true of Vblock. This is true of VxBlock. This is True of the Vblock and VxBlock competitors. It’s why our partnership with Cisco around UCS is safe and sound. I say it. Michael Dell says it. Chuck Robbins says it.

In HCI, it’s different. With HCI – there is no “external storage array”.   With HCI – the magic is all in the software stack (both management and software defined storage) that makes it transform from “piece parts” into a system. With HCI, the platform biases to rack-mount. With HCI, the platform biases to dense storage/compute/memory server designs. It means that modular designs matter.

I believe that in the long run – without a software stack AND without a strong rackmount portfolio (like Dell PowerEdge R-series) AND without a modular system portfolio (like Dell PowerEdge FX-series)… frankly, folks without that portfolio, we are just not going to cut it.

The reason is very, very basic. While the things that define HCI are software (compute, storage, networking abstractions and the automation that pulls it into an integrated whole) ultimately the system level design and system level offer has a huge element of hardware… That element of the system-level offer depends on having an awesome, fast, flexible, and cost effective x86 rackmount, modular set of systems, and an incredible supply chain, support model, and “configure to order” flexibility.   Winning in HCI will be very, very hard without that capability – and it’s a capability that we’re STARTING as #1.

With the formation of Dell customers can count on us to expand the reach and scope of our platforms. We ARE (not WILL be) working behind the scenes to leverage the power of our Dell family to welcome Dell PowerEdge Servers into our HCI portfolio soon.

It’s a no brainer to ensure the continuity and strength of our CI leadership Vblock and VxBlock with Cisco UCS.   Customers are voting with their feet – and they love Vblock and VxBlock.

Likewise, it’s a no brainer for us to combine PowerEdge servers with our HCI VxRack and VxRail offers to give our customers more choice, more configure to order, faster access to the whole Intel ecosystem, and ultimately better flexibility at a better price point. It won’t be a surprise to anyone that we are working furiously behind the scenes to turn this into a reality, not just “bundling”, but deeply integrating design, roadmap, manufacturing, supply chain and support. Watch this space for more details.

In the end, the ingredients that go into a great meal are only important insofar as they create the boundaries of how great the meal can be. When it comes to CI and HCI – servers, networks, storage, and the software that binds them and powers them – those all are ingredients. Critical ingredients, but ingredients.   As anyone who has made a meal – you know the ingredients matter.   Anyone who has run a restaurant knows that great ingredients are not enough. You need the best recipes, the best ingredients, and the best operations – and that’s us as Dell Technologies.

Furthermore – for customers who are less inclined for a tightly integrated engineered CI/HCI platform, customers perhaps not ready to transform the way they operate, but want simple reference architectures, bundles like VSAN-Ready Nodes and ScaleIO-Ready Nodes, and validated systems – Dell PowerEdge, Dell Storage, and Dell Networking will be at the heart of reference architectures, bundles, and validated systems.

Our mission in the Dell Converged Platform and Solutions team is simple: deliver on the full continuum of “build” to “buy” outcome based approaches using modern IT infrastructure that will form the backbone of an advanced data center, a data center that can deliver scalable, agile, flexible and powerful results and enable customers to focus on what’s important to them, thereby achieving a competitive edge.

Dell’s status as the No. 1 in servers shipped globally is a perfect fit for this mission. My congratulations to the Dell PowerEdge team, and my thanks to our customers for making us #1!   Wait until you see what we have in store next 😉

Read Ashley Gorakhpurwalla’s blog: Another day. Another #1. All in one place.

*Dell was the #1 server vendor in 2016Q2 based on worldwide server shipments.  Source: IDC, WW Quarterly Server Tracker, 2016Q2 Historical Release, September 14, 2016

About the Author: Chad Sakac

Chad Sakac leads the Pivotal Container Service (PKS) efforts at Pivotal where he brings together the Engineering, Marketing and GTM aspects of the business – with the goal of building the best Enterprise Container Platform together with VMware – part of how Pivotal is transforming the way how software and the future is built. PKS is a joint effort with VMware – and the effort involves bringing the immense resources of two great companies together. This alliance part of Chad’s role extends to all of the elements of how Pivotal works with Dell Technologies (Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream, Boomi) - across the transformational methodologies (Pivotal Labs, Platform Acceleration Labs, Application Transformation and more) and technologies (all of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Data) of Pivotal as a whole. Prior to this role, Chad spent 14 years at Dell EMC where he was responsible for several technical customer focusing on customer and partner innovation – most recently as the President and GM of the Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CPSD), and prior to that leading all global Systems Engineering team. Before joining EMC, Chad led the Systems Engineering team at Allocity, Inc. Chad authors one of the top 20 cloud, virtualization and infrastructure blogs, “Virtual Geek” He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.