9 posts • joined Wednesday 27th February 2008 13:55 GMT
Missing the point
Focusing on the myriad shortcoming of Dell is missing the point. Michael Dell is a true innovator - but not in technology, rather in financial models. He pioneered the "Negative cash conversion cycle" and made it possible to do financial magic - manufacture products in such way that it was possible to sell below cost and still make money - not an easy trick. Several business schools teach courses on the Dell model.
It so happened that for his time in history, the PC was the best platform to exploit that model, and so he ended up in the PC business. In some other age, it might have been buggy whips. Between the negative cash conversion cycle and the direct model of Sales, he built a very successful company.
However, almost point for point, Dell in latter years has abandoned all of the practices that made them a multi-billion dollar company. First off, they attempted to embrace the channel, which is absolutely counter to the culture of the company in the first place (Please read Michael's book "Direct from Dell" for more on that) . Simultaneously, they stopped being a manufacturer and instead have shifted to an ODM model for the core products of servers and PCs.
I have no doubt Michael has a plan. I also have no doubt that he believes his plan would not be workable if he must show quarter on quarter growth to the street. I suspect the plan will not bode well for current resellers, and, if I hadn't already left the company, I would be taking the golden handshake now to get out. I am anticipating a big round of arbitrage where Dell spins off a bunch of the underperforming questionable acquisitions it made over the last few years - and there will be collateral damage across the company when that show starts. I also anticipate the channel teams will be cut further than they already have been. We're already seeing the Dell direct teams taking deals away from the channel daily - Sales upper management never really saw the value of channels , they have drunk the "Dell Direct" Kool-Aid too long.
It's about time!
The spread from #1 and #2 in x86 has been razor thin for years, and a few big deals will sway that claim easily. Dell does build gorgeous hardware - and those big deals are built on the DCS hardware that you can't get at the website. Couple that with a willingness to take a large deal direct in a heartbeat in order to recover the incredibly thin or negative margins, and the special thigh grease (to help the sales rep lower his trousers quicker) and special socks with ankle handles for a better grip when pricing to "take share", and I am only surprised it took this long...
Good luck with that services play, though. To err is human, but to really screw things up you should call Dell Professional Services..
They have a new award now
One of the top 50 places to have once worked at.
While they were fixing the mid-plane, it would have been awesome to maybe make the damned display so it could tilt upward - for those of us that have installed the enclosures at the bottom of the rack.
Re: Stop perpetuating myths...DELL
Yeah, I know you have to be an anonymous coward if you are going to post as a Dell employee, because otherwise you have violated one of the many rules over there. That's fair. I was at Dell, worked in both the Server as well as the Storage practice, and more than likely trained you at one point. Now I work at Nimble, because it is a far better product and better company to work for - which is why many of the best senior Compellant and EQL sales people now work here.
So, let me go ahead and point out all of the things wrong with your statement - non-anonymously.
Equallogic is in second generation - So is Nimble, but Equallogic's second generation cannot match the performance or functionality of out original Beta systems, never mind the 192 TB of capacity (all at 45,000 IOps) that the current Nimble does.
Price performance - what math are you using to determine that Dell has something more suitable than Nimble? Dell can solve for $$ per GB storage with the cheapo MD solutions, but performance - $$ per IOP - sucks. I realize you cannot do the math for what it would take to get 45,000 I/Ops out of EQL, because you cannot get a large fraction of that performance number out of EQL platform at all without going into the very poorly thought out PS6xxxS chassis - then your $$ per GB is through the roof. The EQL hybrid arrays - trying to solve the problem with hardware - will only do a fraction of the performance of our original CS-2x0 arrays.
And, add the data protection functionality - just built into the array, and just works - and EQL becomes an incomplete solution unless you want to start slinging AppAssure at the solution, and a backup target... Complexity and a hodgepadge of acquisition products - which sums up Dells Enterprise strategy as a whole.
But what do you expect ? Dell is not a technology company - it is a marketing company (Check your pay stub for verification)
VMWare and Microsoft Integration. Nimble has all of that , and feedback from my customers (many of them ex EQL) is that out VMWare integration is easier to deploy and impliment than EQL. My opinion - they are about the same.
Your problem, and Dell's, is simply this - What makes Nimble so different and disruptive to old school incumbents like Dell is the basic file system itself - Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL). Dell cannot change how they are injesting and storing data on EQL or Compellant without a complete redesign,
Nimble is hardly playing "Catchup" to EqualLogic or anyone else...
Disclaimer - Nimble Employee, and ex-Dell/EqualLogic employee.
I'm not clear on where you get that Nimble is where EqualLogic was in 2009. EqualLogic in 2012 cannot outperform a single CS-200 series array (never mind the new CS400s and CS-400x2s) and follow their own best practices, even with a million dollar plus 16 array pool. - the performance is THAT much better on the Nimble.
EqualLogic's snapshot capability is so inefficient it's embarrassing - a single 4k changed block will consume 15 MB of non-compressed capacity. By contrast, Nimble's granularity goes down to a single 4k page view. Nimble's model of using efficient snapshotting as a data protection/backup methodology will forever escape them, as their ancient file system and incredibly underpowered processors will not allow it. To fix it would mean abandoning their install base and code and starting over from the basics- then THEY would be where NIMBLE was in 2009...
Replication is even more inefficient on the EQL platform, compared to the WAN optimized, highly granular Nimble model.
EqualLogic did a few things VERY well - they introduced a user administrable, easy to deploy SAN and blazed a trail for iSCSI protocol. Their network stack is very nice. Pity they are selling storage, not networking.
As I said, EQL did a few things very well, and that led to them once being considered the fastest growing storage startup in history. That crown has been moved to Nimble by a LARGE margin - any way you want to measure it - Revenue, number of customers, number of installs, hiring rate... (Hint : The Registers numbers are a bit old - over 1000 installs and 500 customers as of last week).
And about that gateway product - Cacher - well, It was REALLY freaking cool, but there is not not a very large addressable market for super duper high performance NFS.
"Not a revolution here"?
The embedded hypervisor in the Dell VESO (aka R805) and now all PowerEdge models means you can deploy servers with no local hard drives at all, saving power, reducing heat, and improving uptime with one easy move.
Sounds sort of revolutionary to me...