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Dell's server sales through the channel are a small portion of its overall server market share, but the company believes that business should increase this year after the release of the company's 12th generation (12G) PowerEdge servers.
"The 12G announcement for Dell is super critical in terms of continuing to extend our ability to innovate in the platform," said Tony Parkinson, vice president of SMB at Dell. "We're really focused on the benefits of customers of these technologies. It's not just, 'here's a faster CPU,' but [there are] true innovations for customers across applications performance and virtualization, which is pretty much a key metric for our servers."
Parkinson added that the replacement cycle for mission critical servers is back to a three-year time frame.
That time frame presents a large opportunity now for channel partners, along with the PowerEdge enhancements such as Intel Xeon processor E5 family, innovations in embedded systems managedment tools, and technology taken from Dell's Compellent Fluid Data architecture, including Express Cache, a PCIe Flash device that plugs into the server to maximize application performance, and Cachecade, a RAID controller technology.
12G servers use 30 percent less power than the previous generation and embedded systems management can save up to 30 management days a year for end users, Parkinson said.
"Obviously there's CPU improvement but the massive memory footpring allows for more virtual machines per server and helps on consolidation," Parkinson said. "From a customer perspective, there's two-and-a-half times more Exchange mail on a single server than previous technology and 10.5 [times] more performance for SQL due to integrated performance of solid state drives," Parkinson said.
"There's a compelling reason to change. If we just bring out a new server, there's no reason for customers to migrate to it. We're not doing a service to the customer or to our engineering teams spending time on the innovation," Parkinson said.
The servers also tie into Dell's storage and networking solutions to create a converged data center infrastructure, Parkinson said. "It's really part of whole enterprise strategy," he said.
Many Dell solution providers came to the company through one of Dell's numerous acquisitions, such as Compellent or Force 10 and many of those VARs that haven't expanded their relationship to servers yet. Parkinson is hoping 12G does just that.
"We clearly want to continue to grow our footprint in the channel and cross pollinate if a reseller is only selling storage or only selling networking our only selling our software platforms," Parkinson said. "In terms of access to [more] platforms, we are building seeding programs to get them servers or to bring their customers into [a Dell solutions center], especially bringing customers in to validate their applications on a new server."
Next: Balancing Open Platform vs. Driving More Dell Products