back to article Dell spits up storage revenues after gobbling promising upstarts

Dell's storage revenues are continuing to decline as the company fails to reap the benefits of its acquisitions. EqualLogic and Compellent were great startups but the stellar growth of those two units has not translated into stellar growth for Dell's storage revenues. In its latest quarter, which finished at the end of June, …


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  1. Nate Amsden Silver badge


    Can't imagine even if Dell had a monolithic array that (m)any people would buy it from them. IBM and HP of course have big iron boxes which fit these arrays well, Dell obviously does not. The big array market seems saturated anyway as it continues to slowly decline, as more mid range systems get top tier capabilities.

    You don't see HP talking about the P9500 all that much. I was at a mini HP event a few weeks ago where we spent the ENTIRE DAY talking about storage. Not *ONCE* was P9500 (HDS OEM) mentioned. Also not once was EVA mentioned (not surprising). It was all 3PAR, Lefthand, IBRIX, and they were going to cover MSA but we ran out of time. You also don't see P9500 in really any of the marketing materials on HP storage. I saw a keynote from David Scott(former 3PAR CEO of course) at another event the next day and again not once was P9500 mentioned.

    I wonder if Dell should go a completely different direction, and acquire one/more of these grid compute/storage combo companies, it would at least allow them to significantly differentiate themselves from the other big players.

    I still think the Dell storage strategy has been a good one(at least composed of good parts individually), it is just taking a while to bring the parts together. If it turns out they can't effectively integrate all the parts then I suppose I'd change my view..

    1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      Re: monolithic

      Here is david scott's recent keynote I believe it was on July 29 2013

      (the organizer of the event just posted it today or yesterday). I'm in the 2nd row in front on the left side....

      nothing fancy, just wanted to show proof of no P9500 :)

  2. pyite

    EqualLogic and Compellant anecdote

    The lack of native NAS protocols is exactly the problem. Dell's acquisition strategy was terrible since they bought two SAN companies and zero NAS companies.

    At my last job we tried a couple of EqualLogic units and considered Compellant, but NetApp won in the end because it could do both iSCSI and NFS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EqualLogic and Compellant anecdote

      Dell has the FS8600 (NAS for Compellent), FS7600 (NAS for Equallogic) and also NX3500 for the PowerVault lines. All three of these are build on Dell's Scalable Fluid File System, which was built and enhanced from the Exanet acquisition. All run NFS/CIFS perfectly well and are high performance, high throughput, high availability, high scalability,

      They are manageable with their respective platforms through a single integrated GUI with the underlying SAN.

      Additionally, Dell has Windows Storage Server products (remarkably powerful, stable and functional with Windows Server 2012) and if you need an NFS mount, why bother with proprietary SANs and instead just fire up a Linux VM, use Samba or similar.

      AC because I work for Dell.

  3. Redmond_1

    Can't sell

    It's now looking more and more like the sales generated during the emc relationship had more to do with emc and less to do with dell. Perhaps a new OEM relationship with netapp or even going back to emc might revive their fortunes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't sell

      Dell's selling more storage than HDS. Should they also close up shop and OEM EMC's or NetApp's gear?

  4. M. B.

    Dunno what the problem is...

    I think there may be room in the portfolio but honestly, why bother? Big IBM shops aren't going to give up their DS8000s anytime soon. Shops loaded with EMC-certified admins aren't going to suddenly decide to move away from their VMAX arrays. Same goes for Hitachi - if I've invested piles of money in training and gear, why switch?

    There's just no reason for them to develop a monolithic array at this point - Compellent customers are buying it for one specific reason (full disclosure, we recently bought two Compellent arrays) or another. They have a credible, benchmarked scale-out NAS offering to front-end that SAN (I tried it in labs and loved its ease of use and seamless feel). Ours is a new DR replication target and test-drive of the platform - we are really happy with it at this point.

    I honestly can't say why more people aren't buying their storage (we also own 3 EqualLogics in remote locations as well as NetApp and IBM). I suppose we've been hearing bits and pieces for too long (Ocarina features in CML and EQL, cross-platform replication, various other bits "coming soon"), but overall we're a happy customer.

    Also, they are happy to show you the performance of their FS8600 in benchmarks but not willing to publish SPC results on their block products - I don't particularly care for synthetic results but numbers sell.

    Maybe scaling the Compellent architecture out a bit might help but only so much. Maybe it's the sales org. Maybe pricing. Maybe a lack of info. I think someone somewhere is droping the ball and not getting the message out as well as they should.

  5. josh.krischer

    Most of Dell customers do not require high-end storage. When Sun started resell Hitachi the situation was different, most of the storage on the top 10 000 series of Sun was EMC Symmetrix. Both Compellent and EqualLogics are innovative products (Compellent for example was the first to introduce automated data placement, etc.) which fit Dell much better than large high-end subsystems. Comparing Server/storage ratio you have to consider the current weakness of hp which Dell enjoy.

    They could do better with integration of all the companies which the acquired but at the end the problem of Dell in storage is not products but execution.

  6. Drpepper

    Strange Strategy to blame?

    There's too much overlap in the EQL and CML space, Powervault is an excellent but underated product in my view.

    I also find it weird that Dell seems to be placing all it's bets on midmarket block and file, these markets are in decline in favour of grid compute, software defined storage etc.

    Even more bizzarre is ending a relationship which saw Dell with an industry leading Object Storage solution at a time when Object Storage is the biggest growth market.

  7. R8it

    3 Problems

    Dell has three problems.

    First, as pointed out, the EqualLogic and Compellent product lines directly overlap each other (given that Compellent has iSCSI). Dell stupidly acquired Compellent (in a rush to hide the embarrassment of losing 3PAR) and have watched the two platforms simply split the revenue Equallogic used to have by itself. Possibly Compellent picked up a little of the old Dell Clariion business, but EMC hoovered up most of it.

    Second, HP has changed the game in the midrange since the introduction of the new four way 3PAR 7000 platform that doesn't suffer the performance problems after a controller failure that plague a dual controller Compellent. Both systems originally had a similar architecture approach, but 3PAR used to sit at a price point substantially above Compellent, but not now. At the same price point as Compellent, HP now offers mission-critical availability with the 3PAR 7000. Why would a customer choose Tier 2 storage when they can now get Tier 1 at the same price? Talk to the channel and HP is ripping into Dell Compellent, EMC VNX and NetApp with the 3PAR 7000.

    Finally, this "going private" thing is scaring customers to death. What will it mean? There's a reason most customers won't buy from private companies, and its because they view them as representing too much risk.

    If I'm a Dell storage rep right now, I'm updating my resume fast.

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