Dell Boosts SAN Offerings

Dell Computer Corp. expanded its line of SAN products today, offering customers a broader range of options for high-end Windows environments.

Dell introduced its PowerVault 660F Fibre Channel storage array, designed for rackmount environments. The PowerVault 660F can support up to twenty servers and holds up to 70TB of data. Emil Sayegh, senior manager for software and solutions at Dell, says that Dell plans to target mid-to-high end Windows users with the storage array.

While Dell is known for direct sales, Sayegh says that most customers will not be selecting a SAN implementation from the website, then deploying it themselves. Rather, Dell’s consulting wing will aid users making SAN decisions. However, Sayegh says that Dell attempts to apply its model even to its service offerings. Users can make initial decisions using software available on the web, then use consultants to make final plans. “We’re trying to commodify consulting,” he says.

Sayegh says that many mid-tier businesses face similar problems, so consultants experienced with these environments can assess situations efficiently. Dell is particularly qualified to help Windows users, he believes, because Windows is Dell’s core competency. “We are extremely focused on the solving the problems of customers with Windows environments,” he says.

Unlike IBM Corp, Hewlett Packard Co, or Compaq Computer Corp. through its acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp., Dell has little experience selling mainframes or minicomputers to businesses, sometimes raising questions about its credibility as an enterprise vendor. In response, Dell has taken a number of steps to assure its place in the enterprise.

In 1998, Dell split its storage group off into a single unit, which reports directly to chairman Michael Dell. Sayegh says its independence from the rest of the company allows the division to develop for and pursue markets with greater vigor. “On a quarterly basis, we introduce new SAN hardware to our customers,” he says.

Last December, Dell announced that it would OEM Unisys Corp.’s 32-processor ES7000 in order to offer a complete set of enterprise offerings from desktops to high-end database servers. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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