Sources: Cisco's Perez Heads To Dell As Enterprise CTO

Former Cisco Systems executive Paul Perez will join archrival Dell as the computing giant's next CTO in the enterprise group, where he will help drive the company's enterprise charge, CRN has learned..

The move, sources close to the matter told CRN, ends speculation as to where Perez was headed after Cisco confirmed Wednesday that he left the company earlier this month. Perez is credited for being the driving force behind building Cisco's successful Unified Computing System server platform.

According to sources, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell had been courting Perez for some time. The former Cisco vice president and general manager of computing systems replaces outgoing Dell Enterprise CTO Sam Greenblatt, who left the company in February.

[Related: Cisco Unified Computing System Visionary Departs]

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Dell channel partners were elated by the news late Wednesday and said the Perez brings rock-solid enterprise credentials that will enable Dell to streamline the company's data-center strategy and supercharge it for success.

"Perez is coming from a channel-focused company, and what that tells me is he is going to bring a lot of that know-how to Dell," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Sigmanet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider.

Monteros said that Perez helped excel Cisco's data center platform and was a driving force behind unifying the company's IT portfolio. "Perez knows how to sell the entire IT stack. Dell has made a lot of acquisitions over the years. Perez is going to help Dell pull all the IT pieces together and work his Cisco UCS magic to help us take Dell's data-center business to the next level."

Cisco touted its UCS accomplishments over the past six years, noting that UCS has reached a $3 billion-plus run rate with more than 41,000 customers.

Perez joins Dell as the company has begun to ramp up its enterprise charge. Earlier this month, Dell Vice President Bryan Jones said Dell has freed up capital and is accelerating its investments in the channel and on technology acquisitions as a private company.

For its part, Dell has been putting its money where its mouth is and has been rapidly expanding its IT portfolio up the stack. For example, just this past February, Dell expanded its hyperconverged infrastructure appliance line with two new models based on its latest server hardware combined with Nutanix's software stack.

"Perez is the right person at the right time for Dell," Monteros said. "Dell was headed in the right direction. But Perez is going to allow Dell to get there a whole lot faster."