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Chris Mellor

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Chris Mellor covers storage and allied technology areas for The Register. After experience working for DEC, Unisys and SCO, he became an IT journalist writing for a variety of print publications. He edited the UK's first storage print magazine and then moved into the online world writing for IDG's Techworld, then started up the Blocks & Files blog, which was bought by El Reg.

He has written many sportscar buying guides, a few mountaineering guides and drives a car that's faster than he is.

By | Chris Mellor 3rd March 2016 09:28

Dell-EMC Federation, stardate 11254.7: What about the storage?

Captain's log: Will peace remain among product lines?

Comment With SEC filings describing the top execs heading the intended Dell-EMC federation, the structure of the storage business becomes clearer. Basically – and surprisingly – there is no change yet.

Looking at the roles of the level 2 execs reporting to Michael Dell, we now know:

  • Michael Dell runs the whole show,
  • Joe Tucci leaves when Dell-EMC merger completes,
  • David Goulden, the current CEO of EMC II, becomes president of the Enterprise Systems Group, covering its servers, storage, networking converged infrastructure and solutions with;
    • EMC II’s Bill Scannell becomes president of enterprise sales, heading up the large enterprise (>1,000 headcount) go-to-market operation,
    • Rodney Rogers, CEO, Virtustream,
    • Amit Yoran, President, RSA,
    • Rohit Ghai , President, Enterprise Content Division,
    • John Swainson, President, Dell Software,
    • Suresh Vaswani, President, Dell Services.
  • Jeff Clarke, currently a Dell president and vice chairman and running its PC operations, becomes Vice Chairman and President, Operations and Client Solutions, and responsible for the Global Supply Chain and End User Computing organisations. This is a small business and consumer-focussed group.
  • Marius Haas, presently a Dell president and its chief commercial officer, running its server, storage and networking operation, becomes responsible for Dell’s commercial (mid-market) customers go-to-market organisation.
  • Pat Gelsinger is VMware CEO,
  • Mike Cote is President and CEO, SecureWorks,
  • Rob Mee is CEO of Pivotal,
  • Jeremy Burton is chief marketing officer,
  • Karen Quintos, currently Dell’s head marketeer, becomes Chief Customer Officer, responsible for leading revenue and margin-enhancing programs, ensuring a consistent customer experience across multiple channels, driving strategies to strengthen and build profitable customer relationships, and lead Corporate Citizenship, including social responsibility, entrepreneurship and diversity.

Nina Hargus is CMO for EMC corporation. Her future role is not yet clear.

So there are three go-to-market organisations:

  • Bill Scannell heads the enterprise one,
  • Marius Haas runs the commercial (mid-size business) team,
  • Jeff Clarke runs the consumer/small business one.

These three will jointly decide which Dell + EMC accounts and staff get allocated to these go-to-market groups.

EMC storage implications

We understand Marius Haas pretty much keeps his current titles and responsibilities. On that basis we can make a preliminary storage product observations in the looming Dell-EMC Federation.

The two most important business units will be Marius Haas’s Commercial one and David Goulden’s ESG. By storage desk's reckoning, EMC II Core Technology, Emerging Technology and Converged Platforms’ storage product division will therefore persist and, so far, remain untouched.

Core Technology (Guy Churchward) means VMAX, VNX/VNXe, XtremIO, VPLEX and Data Domain plus archive, backup, replication and additional software. Emerging Technology (CJ Desai) means DSSD (D5 flash storage), Isilon, Big Data appliances, ScaleIO and ViPR.

Converged Platforms (Chad Sakac) involves what was VCE and means Vblocks, VXRack and VxRail in a Converged Infrastructure part, and Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Native Application stack, and Data Lake solutions in a Converged Solutions group.

Dell storage

We see current Dell storage products staying under Marius Haas’ control and targeting mid-market organisations. That means Storage Center FC SAN (Compellent SC Series), iSCSI SAN (EqualLogic PS Series and blade arrays), PowerVault DAS, Nutanix-powered XC Series HCIA, and Nexenta-powered software-defined storage.

NAS storage comes with Fluid File System products running on SC or PS Series hardware and with Windows NAS appliances. Then there are the DR Series of deduping backup appliances.

Storage software includes the Rapid Recovery and NetVault data protection products.

Here’s a big, big question. Will the various storage product engineering groups be combined? Historically Dell has kept its acquired storage engineering operations, such as Compellent and EqualLogic, separate.

If this precedent is followed then we will have some overlapping products, such as VNX/VNXe and Compellent/EqualLogic, and product components such as drive trays and server/controller boxes. The components can get sorted out easily enough, relatively speaking, but the product overlap is more difficult.

Fiefdom fighting

We can foresee a risk of competing executive fiefdoms emerging, with Guy Churchward facing up to Marius Haas over VNX/VNXe versus Compellent/EqualLogic. If the three environments are seen as storage software personalities on the same underlying hardware, then who controls that hardware’s engineering?

Churchward could also want to discuss how Data Domain deduping backup appliances fit with Dell’s DR Series appliances in the future.

Chad Sakac could also have an issue with Haas over VxRack and the Nutanix-powered XC Series. Neither will want different parts of the Dell-EMC sales force and channel competing for bids with competing products - and neither will customers. The same will go for Churchward’s VNX/VNXe arrays and Haas’ overlapping Compellent and EqualLogic arrays.

Sakac could also have a beef about VxRack versus Dell's DDS 9000 converged rack systems for hyperscalers.

There is still much work to be done by the two integration execs; Rory Read of Dell and EMC’s Howard Elias. Will there be product blood on the floor?

Our feeling is that Michael Dell and Joe Tucci will want to avoid or minimise it.

This leads us to think we’ll have product separate existence sweetness and light up until the merger completes, but then the assassins’ knives will come out. ®

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