My New Role as CTO of Dell’s Enterprise Solutions Group

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Dell is undergoing a massive shift in its business and strategy.  Over the past four years, the company has been busy building significant new businesses to augment its traditional and well-known strength in client devices.  Examples of this include a new Software division, a Services division, and the most visible to date – the Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG).  ESG comprises Dell’s Server, Storage and Networking domains and has been one of the most active groups in all of the technology industry in terms of expanding its capabilities and addressable markets. It’s now positioned to address current and future customer concerns as it never had in the past. 

As I have had a chance to learn in my first 10 weeks on the job, Dell ESG has done a remarkable job of predicting where the puck is going to, and getting there first.  We saw the importance of rack efficient, hyperscale servers for the cloud provider market and made an early investment in DCS. Today, we have 53% market share. We saw the value of iSCSI storage, made an early investment in EqualLogic and we now have #1 share in iSCSI storage almost 2X that of our competitors. We predicted the trend to distributed core switches and are an industry leader in that emerging new segment. We understood the importance of virtualization early, positioned our servers and storage to be optimized for virtualization, and we are now the preferred infrastructure provider in virtualized environments. We understood the need for power efficiency and developed the most power efficient mainstream x86 servers. We are making a bet on OpenStack clouds, and were the first to provide a complete OpenStack solution. Time after time, we have made bold predictions, and driven to be leaders in new spaces – it’s quite a remarkable story! 

The rate and pace of change in enterprise technology today is many orders of magnitude what it was only 10 years ago and shows no signs of slowing down.  Our industry is about to hit many exciting inflection points. New forms of storage like Flash are poised to completely change the storage landscape. Integrated systems of servers, storage and networking are beginning to redefine how customers buy IT. The emergence of clouds is making it an imperative that we give customers seamless access to their applications and data across on-premise and cloud environments, while retaining tight policy control over performance, data, and security. These changes hold the promise of ushering in a new wave of productivity and growth for businesses and Dell is perfectly positioned to help shape their future.  We have proven we can make the right bets in the past, and I am confident we will be successful and bold as we move forward. 

So it’s this combination of technology transformation and the opportunity it creates for Dell which I found intriguing and when the offer came to join the company, I saw it as too good to pass up.  Trading in my career equity at IBM, my role as CTO and VP of Technical Strategy for IBM’s Systems and Technology Group and my role as an IBM Fellow, where I had wide  latitude to think about the biggest and most interesting problems in the industry, was not an easy decision to make. 

But as Dell has matured in the Enterprise space and become a true end-to-end solutions provider—which has both the ability and desire to innovate across technologies like no other—I felt like now was the time to make a move.  The opportunity to help guide Dell’s enterprise architecture as it creates solutions  for the next 25 years in an environment that is not encumbered by the past excites me.  As I enter week No. 10 of my job and have had the chance to meet many people at Dell I find myself even more convinced that we are on the right path. 

About the Author: Jai Menon

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