Partners Embrace Dell-EMC Deal Creating Channel Behemoth, Welcome Enterprise Push

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The landmark $67 billion EMC acquisition by Dell creates an IT powerhouse partners say is a ’dream deal’ that will energize sales, up their data center IQs and most important, grow their bottom lines.

’It’s a great day to be a Dell partner,’ said Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Dell partner based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dell agreed to buy EMC on Monday in a deal considered the largest technology acquisition ever, creating an enterprise behemoth that will leverage EMC’s dominance in the storage market with No. 2 server maker Dell, forming a technology titan partners say is capable of taking on rivals Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Oracle as well as upstarts such as Nutanix.

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[Related: Dell Buys EMC-VMware In $67 Billion Deal, Partners See New World Enterprise Order]

’EMC’s product portfolio fills in a lot of gaps that I had with Dell,’ Goldstein said. ’Overnight, Dell and LAN Infotech become a one-stop shop covering all a customer’s enterprise needs,’ he said. The Dell and EMC dynamo, Goldstein said, gives LAN Infotech new channel enterprise power that would impact sales and profit going forward. ’We were never shy about doubling-down with Dell, but this helps us solidify Dell as our primary vendor.’

With the EMC acquisition, partner portfolios now extend from document management to PCs, virtualization to security, storage and servers.

’It’s counterintuitive with companies such as HP and eBay splitting and Dell going the other direction. But going private and doubling on its technology stack is something Michael Dell now has a proven track record of success in,’ Goldstein said.

Two years ago, Dell went private in a $25 billion buyout by founder Michael Dell. The EMC acquisition helps cement Dell as not just a PC and server maker but an enterprise solution provider. No. 1 virtualization software provider VMware, of which EMC owns about 80 percent, will remain a publicly traded company with deep ties to Dell.

’The ownership stake in VMware that comes with EMC is very important,’ said Doug Grosfield, president and CEO of Xylotek Solutions, a Cambridge, Ontario-based solution provider. ’Partners such as us, who have relationships with Dell, EMC and VMware already, will see efficiencies and economies of scale improve once the joining of forces shakes out. Michael Dell has put Dell in a great position to adapt well to an evolving technology landscape today.’

Dan Serpico, president and CEO of FusionStorm, a top 10 partner with both Dell and EMC, said the opportunities for partners in the merger are "tremendous."

"Partners who understand both [vendors] already can go to market faster, can accelerate their field teams, their finance teams," Serpico said. "We're asking, 'How can we take advantage of this tomorrow.' "

"These are two of our most important brands," Serpico told CRN, and they've played a significant role in FusionStorm's 25 percent year-over-year revenue growth. "It's a one-plus-one-equals-three scenario," he said. "The opportunity to merge those infrastructures together is tremendously exciting. It creates a tremendous value for our customers."

Other partners that have sold Dell’s EqualLogic and Compellent storage products say the EMC acquisition ups their storage game significantly, bringing with it major new enterprise opportunities. Rory Sanchez, president of SL Powers, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based solution provider, said many of its existing customers are EMC loyalists.

’A lot of clients tell us that they are sticking with EMC. Now we can worry less about flipping their alliance. And instead, we can focus on selling complementary products,’ Sanchez said.

Dell and EMC are better together, said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Sigmanet, an Ontario, Calif.-based Dell and EMC partner. ’It makes a lot of sense. And it’s going to make even more sense to our customers.’

’We have had some difficulty with Compellent not being as well-received as EMC’s VNX in the market,’ Monteros said. Customers, he said, tend to like to stick with one vendor. ’With this acquisition, we can streamline our storage solutions and build a strong bench around a 100 percent Dell solution. That’s something customers are asking for.’

To that end, Monteros said, ’Sigmanet now can bring to market a better data center solution faster -- combining best of breed PowerEdge servers with VNX series storage solutions. That helps us in the long run win new business and be more efficient.’

FusionStorm's Serpico said he's not concerned about the prospect of Dell's and EMC's channel programs coming together.

"I have no worries," he said. "I'm sure it's well thought out. They've been partners with one another for a long time. They know each other very well, and I'm sure they've had long, deep discussions about how they're going to come together, about leadership, about go-to-market strategy. I don't worry about it at all."

Still, how the two different sales styles of Dell and EMC merge is a big question mark for some partners. They say EMC’s channel and direct sales style is more aggressive and ’cutthroat’ compared to Dell’s. ’Whose culture wins in this deal is anyone’s guess,’ said Chris Pyle, president of Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider and IBM and NetApp channel partner.

Pyle said his firm’s Dell’s business is minimal and sees the EMC acquisition creating new non-Dell storage opportunities for his company. ’I come across a lot of EMC in the market. But now that competition is going to be Dell,’ Pyle said.

’With any big deal like this, there are going to be some customers that are going to want reassurance that Dell and EMC won’t take their eye off the ball,’ Pyle said. ’For Champion, that creates a crack for me to exploit, allowing me to ask customers if it might be time to reconsider their EMC relationship and move to IBM and NetApp,’ he said.

’Dell has done a great job of merging and combining companies and we don’t anticipate it being any different with EMC,’ SL Powers' Sanchez said. He said EMC has always had tight restrictions on product SKUs and its authorization process has been inconsistent. He is looking forward to improvements on both fronts. ’From a sales side, I’m very excited. From a partner perspective, I’m curious [about] how Dell will merge channel programs.’

’I’m sure there is going to be some Dell turbulence, but it’s a big win for Dell partners in the long run,’ Goldstein said.

Lindsey O'Donnell and Matt Brown contributed to this story.