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Dell's storage revenue fell 16 percent over last year. However, most of that fall was attributed to Dell's decision last year to stop reselling EMC storage after building that business for several years.
When the EMC factor was removed, sales of Dell storage based on its own intellectual property fell only 3 percent from last year.
One solution provider, who preferred anonymity, called Thomas a very smart, capable and bright person who will be missed by Dell storage fans.
"He did a great job of trying to build Dell's storage business," the solution provider said. "But in my opinion, he had a different philosophy with others in Dell management. Dell suffered a big loss in its storage business after losing EMC. Compellent, however has grown dramatically in a very short time. To me, Dell loosing the EMC stuff but growing its Compellent and EqualLogic business is a great thing. But, I don't know that that story is playing well in the street."
That kind of transition can be hard on management, the solution provider said. "Darren [Thomas] did a great job of tying together different philosophies," the solution provider said. "Compellent is different from EMC, which is different from EqualLogic. I wouldn't have wanted to run all of that."
The Dell storage management transition could stem from the transition going on in Dell storage, said Patrick Mulvee, vice president of sales and marketing at Sidepath, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Dell partner.
"I think Dell is continuing to see its storage channel grow while its direct sales revenue falls," Mulvee said.
Both solution providers said their companies are seeing nothing but growing opportunities from working with Dell storage.
"We're not seeing any problems in our Dell storage business," Mulvee said. "We're only seeing it grow. We just hired a new solutions architect last week, and Dell storage is a big part of the reason. As VARs we architect complete solutions. We can put them together in our lab before sending them to customers. And we're collecting happy customers in Southern California."
The solution provider who requested anonymity is seeing a huge bump in its Dell storage business over last year. "Dell's doing all the right things," the solution provider said.