Dell has finalized its acquisition of SonicWall, a move that adds network security, secure remote access, e-mail security, backup/recovery, and management/reporting to its enterprise and SMB offerings.
Over the past three years, Dell, Round Rock, Texas, has embarked on a major campaign to develop its software and services portfolio, particularly around cloud computing, consumerization of the enterprise (BYOD) and the need for constant and pervasive access to data and applications from any location.
Under Dell’s ownership, SonicWall is expected to continue offering comprehensive security solutions that fully leverage its technologies in the firewall and Unified Threat Management (UTM) spaces.
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"The combination of SonicWall with Dell's existing security offerings and broad market reach will help customers securely manage their data, securely manage consumer devices being brought into their enterprise, and securely expand their applications to the cloud," said John Swainson, president, Dell Software Group, in a statement.
But from a channel perspective, the move is causing no small amount of confusion and concern.
“I’m wondering how much control Dell will assert,” said Mike Coffey, vice president, sales at Tennessee-based Gravity Networks. “On the one hand, we’ve seen Dell embrace the channel. But on the other hand, it’s possible that they can start selling this from in-house and cut out the little guys. There may be some protection in that security tends to be a more consultative sale, but Dell offers a lot of services, too, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Those thoughts are echoed by Michael Goldstein, president of Ft. Lauderdale-based LAN Infotech, which has partnerships in place with both Dell and SonicWall. “I’m curious about how this will impact us, especially the sourcing end of things,” he said. “I don’t want to have to compete against Dell.com and play the margin game against them.”
Goldstein added that since the acquisition was announced in March, a number of other security vendors have begun actively recruiting the SonicWall channel. At this point, he says he’s been reluctant to make any changes because he’s been satisfied with the technology and channel support that he’s gotten from both SonicWall and Dell.
Meanwhile, Cliff Sweazey, executive vice president at Indiana-based Innovative Integration, is “excited about the expanding product mix at Dell.” Already working with both Dell and SonicWall, he says he’s gotten “good channel support from both companies” but has not yet received much information on the transition at this point.
More information is expected on Thursday when Dell holds a conference call with channel partners to further detail its plans.
“This whole thing is good if Dell continues moving towards the channel,” said Aaron Frazier, vice president, sales/marketing at American Technology Specialists in Arizona. “And if they begin bundling their combined offerings, that will help provide some margin protection. That makes it harder for customers to separate the various elements and attack the margins for each one.”
Dell expects the transaction to be accretive to earnings on a non-GAAP basis in the second half of this year, according to the statement.