Dell Call To Arms: Data Center Opportunities For VARs

Dell on Wednesday said it is looking to engage channel partners in a move to refresh data centers, citing the aging of existing servers and PCs and the opportunities to help customers improve their performance and power efficiency.

The push to get partners on board with Dell's data center refresh strategy comes at a time when the company has made engaging with solution providers a priority, said Mike Bradley, senior manager for channel marketing and alliances for Dell's global commercial channels.

Bradley, speaking at a Web-based presentation on Wednesday, said solution providers currently account for about 26 percent of Dell's commercial business. "(Dell Chairman) Michael Dell said he wants to double the amount of business we do through partners," he said.

Dell's Partner Direct program currently has over 50,000 registered channel partners globally, of which about 19,000 are in the U.S., Bradley said. This includes about 1,500 certified partners, he said.

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Richard Percaccio, enterprise marketing manager for Dell's global commercial channels, used that Web-based presentation to focus solution provider attention on a variety of opportunities to help refresh data center server infrastructures.

These include replacing legacy systems with new industry-standard systems that increase energy efficiency and which can be used to provide a higher level of virtualization.

"This can help (customers) focus on their business, and help them grow and be more efficient," Percaccio said.

Percaccio, citing IDC statistics from late last year, said that about 38 percent of currently installed servers use single-core processors, and 42 percent use dual-core processors. Those servers are not energy efficient, and many of them are probably out of warranty.

"Eighty percent of the servers out there today are ready for refreshing," he said.

Next: New Servers For Virtualization

Those single-core and dual-core servers are also not ideal platforms for use in building virtualized environments, Percaccio said.

Dell last week unveiled new servers Percaccio said are built for efficiency and virtualization. Those servers are based on the new Intel Xeon 7500 "Nehalem-EX" series of processors which are available with up to eight cores per chip.

The new servers include the PowerEdge R810, a 2U rack mount server with up to four processors and 32 cores, up to 512 GB of memory, and up to six 2.5-inch hot plug hard drives.

Also new is the PowerEdge R910, a 4U rack mount server with up to four processors and 32 cores, up to 1 TB of memory, and up to 16 2.5-inch hot plug hard drives.

Dell last week also unveiled the PowerEdge M910 blade server with up to four processors and 32 cores, up to 512 GB of memory, and room for two 2.5-inch hot plug hard drives.

Percaccio estimated that replacing 100 five-year-old servers with 100 new Xeon 7500-based servers provides a performance boost of up to 20 times. Or, for customers looking to increase efficiency, those 100 servers could be virtualized on top of five new Xeon 7500-based servers to cut energy costs by up to about 90 percent.

Dell has also enhanced its Xeon 5500 processor-based servers with nine new servers based on the new Xeon 5600 "Westmere" processors which solution providers can also use to refresh customers' data centers for increased performance and efficiency, he said.

Jeff Johnson, client product marketing manager for Dell's global commercial channels, told solution providers they also should look at the opportunities related to refreshing customers' business PCs.

Johnson, citing Intel studies, said 48 percent of existing business PCs are three year old or older, and ripe for replacing with more powerful energy-efficient models. He also said that IDC expects SMBs to purchase about 47 million new PCs in 2010.