Michael Dell: PCs Are Still Important

The PC business is an important part of a complete IT solution, and it will be an important part of Dell going forward, said Dell CEO Michael Dell in the opening keynote Thursday at Dell World in Austin, Tex.

He didn't mention rival Hewlett-Packard by name, but the words were a clear swipe at HP's stated interest in shedding its Personal Systems Group business, even if HP may be rethinking that strategy now.

"The client business provides enormous scale for us with [suppliers]. We can offer better value to customers. If a company gives up that scale, they're not going to be on top and will have to charge you more for other things they sell," Dell said. "Another benefit is being able to provide the entire solution. We can optimize everything with services end to end."

But Dell is not just a PC company, he stressed.

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"This is an end-to-end solution. The client device is a huge part of the solution for customers. But they also want the server part, the storage part, networking, security, services. It's all part of the complete solution," Dell said. "We're more than just hardware. Our customers are not looking to deploy servers. Hospitals don't want shiny boxes, they want better outcomes for patients. They want to make patient data more accessible. They want to invent a drug."

Dell in his address also put the spotlight on the company's growing base of channel partners. The channel plays a vital role in the evolution of the company, he said, adding that Dell soon expects to have 100,000 VARs in its PartnerDirect program around the world.

"The channel has been key. It expands the reach of our solutions to the broadest set of customers we can provide," said Dell before asking for a round of applause for partners in the audience of more than 2,000 Dell World attendees.

He then highlighted three recent acquisitions -- Kace, Boomi and SecureWorks -- and how they augment Dell's ability to provide complete solutions to VARs and end users.

"Kace was a great little company but they didn't have the scale to take on the big guys," Dell said of the systems management appliance vendor the company acquired last year. "We've tripled our investment, quadrupled our support capability around the world [for Kace]. This year, we're launching Dell Kace products in five new countries. The business is seven times larger than when we acquired it."

Dell Boomi helps connect SaaS and on-premise applications to cloud-based systems, Dell said. "It's right at the cutting edge of how making a cloud service deployable and practical," he said, of the company it acquired last year.

SecureWorks, acquired by Dell earlier this year, monitors 15 billion security events a day and protects $14 trillion in assets for 3,000 customers globally, Dell said.

NEXT: Details On Forthcoming PowerEdge Servers

Dell also gave attendees a sneak peak at its 12th generation of PowerEdge servers, due out next year. Utilizing x86 technology, the next-gen PowerEdge platform can connect up to 1,204 cores, more than 40 terabytes of DRAM, 40 terabytes of flash memory that leads to database queries up to 60 times faster than Dell's current Power Edge servers.

"We're moving flash closer to the processor, and you'll see great gains in performance. Flash is built right into the system," he said. "We are going to extend our leadership with the strongest and most complete lineup of x86 servers with more complex workloads migrating to x86. Customers have chosen 15 million Dell servers in the last decade and in the U.S., 35 percent of x86 servers are Dell. You'll see this continued shift onto smaller servers. Our R910 [server] can already support 2 TB of data. Compute engines are getting much faster, memory imprints are faster, storage is more scalable."

Dell added that later keynotes by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Intel CEO Paul Otellini will shed more light on performance enhancements.

"These 12th generation servers handle more workloads per server than ever before. We've also created vStart, which is a cloud in a rack," Dell said. "It combines servers, storage, management software to make it all work together. You can drop in pre-configured workloads and load up thousands of virtual machines instantly, all on x86."