Dell: EMC Buy Will End Legacy Perceptions Of Dell As A PC Company

Dell's pending acquisition of EMC will finally show how the company as moved past the perception of Dell the PC company to Dell the enterprise company.

Dell also will move quickly to take advantage of that acquisition, which is slated to close sometime in September or October, to bring the power of EMC technology to bear on its data center business.

That's the message from Moe Khan, director of Dell's customer solution centers, who told an audience of solution providers at this week's XChange 2016 conference that no vendors can thrive in the data center without the right mix of products and solutions.

[Related: Q&A: EMC's Jeremy Burton On Dell's EMC Buy, VCE, Cisco And NetApp]

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XChange 2016 is hosted by The Channel Company, parent of CRN.

While Dell does a lot more than PCs, the company from CEO Michael Dell on down still embraces its pedigree as a major PC vendor, Khan said. "Michael's goal is to make Dell an end-to-end enterprise solutions company," he said.

One huge challenge to that legacy perception is Dell's investment in its Dell solution centers. These solution centers are open to channel partners and customers at no cost to help develop enterprise infrastructures, Kahn said.

"You need help with VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] or migrating 10,000 customers, we do it," he said. "There's zero cost for the service."

Dell will struggle with the perception as a workspace company, said Peter Stamos, president and CEO of Ping HD, a Denver-based solution provider and designer of digital signage solutions evaluating Dell as a possible partner.

"It will be hard to break that stereotype," Stamos told CRN. "Over the years, Dell has even lost its No. 1 PC share to Lenovo."

However, Stamos said, he likes how Dell has moved to set up product support and service with no charge on the front end. "If you are building a cloud or virtual services network and can get enterprise support when you buy their gear, that's a huge plus," he said. "Investing in the front end will draw partners to Dell."

Data center requirements are changing as business users migrate from being anchored to a desktop to taking work home to using mobile devices to consume information from anywhere they are, Kahn said.

IT departments are for the most part focused on "keeping the lights on," or managing their companies' IT infrastructure, he said. Dell is looking at better ways to keep the lights on while making it easier to build and manage those infrastructures in all facets, he said.

That has led Dell over the years to become a multifaceted, end-to-end IT technology supplier, he said. "If you go to a switch vendor and say you have an issue, they'll sell you what? A switch?" he said.

Dell instead is helping businesses build future-ready enterprises, Kahn said.

Dell will also bring other EMC technologies to bear on its data center capabilities including cloud, converged infrastructure, and software-defined technologies, Kahn said.

EMC will also make Dell a major force in the engineered systems business. Kahn said that two years ago, 90 percent of customers asked for servers, but now are more likely to be asking for complete solutions around such areas as unified communications or virtual desktop infrastructure.

"They're thinking, give me a solution," he said. "They're thinking [VCE] Vblocks. Dell will soon have Vblock solutions."

Dell already has a reseller relationship with EMC in a number of solutions including reference architectures and software-defined storage, Kahn said. "We'll have many more in a couple weeks," he said.

He cited as an example EMC's Vblock 200, which many reports state was designed to manage around 200 virtual machines. He asked the audience what if they needed something a little bigger, like a Vblock 225, which is not an EMC offering. "Dell can do it," he said. "We'll build you a Vblock 225."

Even as it invests in new data center solutions, Dell will continue investing in future-ready workspaces, Kahn said. This includes offering best-in-class devices such as a display with a built-in wireless charging device for mobile devices, or zero-bezel mobile PCs and 43-inch displays, he said.