Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell has one question for the more than $70 billion IT giant he's built: "How high is up?" Dell and his leadership team are pushing aggressively to make Dell Technologies, the IT behemoth created by Dell's landmark acquisition of EMC last September, the world's dominant technology company.
And confidence is something they have in spades. "We just see tons of opportunity to grow," said Dell in a recent interview with CRN ahead of the Dell EMC World conference, which kicks off Monday in Las Vegas. "VMware in the multi-cloud era, it's a super-important part of our architecture. You look at the momentum with NSX, AirWatch, the vCloud Air network, everything we're doing with hyper-converged, vSAN, VxRail, they all grew very, very strong.
"Transformation isn't really an IT project, it's right at the center of the evolution of a company," said Dell. "Digital transformation, IT transformation, then you have the workplace, workplace transformation where work is not a place you go, it's a thing you do, and you need secure, connected devices to access your information wherever you are. Then there's a security transformation required as well. Only Dell Technologies has the broad portfolio to help our customers across all four of those areas," he said.
[Related: Dell EMC World 2017]
For Bob Olwig, vice president of business development and innovation at St. Louis-based solution provider World Wide Technology, Dell EMC truly does have the hot hand.
"VMware is a dominant player in the virtualization space, and they're going to be important in cloud management platforms with vRealize," Olwig said. "VMware is also strategic around software-defined networking with NSX."
Olwig said WWT is seeing an uptick in customer interest and has done several "very large" deployments with vRealize.
"We've been a big proponent of enterprise hybrid cloud solutions, and the reference architecture Dell EMC created with VMware," he said. "Architecturally, we are demonstrating and designing customer solutions and we can customize that and optimize for specific customer environments in terms of the components and integrations that need to occur."
In addition to the powerful solution-building capability of the Dell EMC portfolio, VMware has become much more channel-friendly, said Michael Tanenhaus, CEO of Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider.
"There are whole groups of VMware employees looking to form alliances. They want to work with you. That's magnificent, and so far they've lived up to what they've said. Caring for and wanting to be part of the partner ecosystem is huge."
A VMware that's more active and engaged with the channel means Mavenspire is booking hyper-converged and software-defined business as fast as it possibly can.