Dell: We Can Build Cloud '80 Percent Faster' Than Cisco, And Cheaper Too

Dell is again talking trash about rival Cisco Systems, this time in an ad claiming Dell can "build a future-ready cloud 80 percent faster than Cisco, and lower TCO [total cost of ownership]."

Over the last few months, Dell has tried to solidify its competitive stance against Cisco, publicly lashing the San Jose, Calif.-based hardware powerhouse for locking customers into costly, proprietary technology, and shunning the industry trend toward open architecture.

"Are we going after Cisco? Yes. Are we going after everybody else? Yes," Glenn Keels, Dell executive director of cloud product marketing, told CRN.

[Related: Dell Enterprise President Haas: Shifting Industry Will Disrupt Cisco]

"Across the board, we're doing what we believe is well against Cisco," Keels said. "It's about solving a problem, and it's a huge opportunity for Dell and a huge opportunity for customers, especially the midmarket."

Earlier this month, Dell noted in a blog that its Dell Boomi cloud integration platform had done more than a billion integration processes over the previous 30 days. The company estimates cloud is currently a $100 billion market, and its strategy is to play -- and play dominantly -- in each aspect of that market.

Dell's channel partners are seeing the Round Rock, Texas, company's aggressive posture in the market come to fruition.

"The vast majority of our private cloud builds, or software-defined custom racks, are based on Dell platforms," said one solution provider, who declined to be identified because he partners with both Dell and Cisco. "Our Dell business has replaced our Cisco server business 5-to-1, just in the last 4 years, coming from virtually nothing," he said. "Cost is a huge differentiator."

Those last four years have seen Dell hit its stride in the channel, making market share gains and a legitimate push to compete head-to-head with industry stalwarts like Cisco, said Mike Bradley, Dell's director of global channels and training.

"The way we hope to go to market with cloud solutions is through partners. That's a key differentiator for us," Bradley said. "We're growing faster than the market. We are taking share and, yes, we're taking share from Cisco. As Dell innovates and brings these technologies to market, we're in lockstep with the channel. We believe we're the most comprehensive end-to-end portfolio. Partners can cover most of their customers' needs, and more than they can with any other single vendor."

The new ad is just the latest example of Dell publicly calling out Cisco.

In May, Dell Enterprise President Marius Haas boasted on Twitter that Dell's revamped Active System Manager is 80 percent faster and nearly 100 percent cheaper than Cisco UCS.

"ASM from @DellConverged is faster, easier to use and costs 95 percent less than Cisco UCS Director," Haas tweeted.

In a series of interviews with CRN, Dell executives, including founder and CEO Michael Dell, criticized Cisco as old-fashioned, slow to recognize important industry trends and dedicated to its huge margins more than the best interests of its customers.

Cisco has been unwilling to respond throughout, and it again refused to comment this week on the new Dell ad campaign.

Dell's first-quarter worldwide server systems revenue jumped nearly 13 percent year over year to about $2.3 billion, giving the company 18 percent market share. During the same period, Cisco's server systems revenue of $890 million represented about 7 percent market share, but showed year-over-year growth of more than 44 percent.

"It makes you think," said Michael Goldstein, CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Dell partner LAN Infotech. "Cloud is one of those things, and all the pieces are there [for Dell], but Cisco has a lot to offer too."

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