Dell Channel Chief Sees Gains, Prepares For Storage Forum

Greg Davis, vice president and general manager for Dell global channels, also gave CRN a quick preview of the company's upcoming Dell Storage Forum where the message to solution providers will be to stop thinking as if they were partnering with Dell acquisitions like Compellent and EqualLogic and focus on being a Dell storage partner.

Dell last Tuesday reported earnings for its first fiscal quarter of 2012 grew 177 percent over its earnings for the same quarter last year, despite a mere 1 percent growth in revenue over the same period.

Dell's growth in profits comes from a focus on higher-margin business and an increasing reliance on its growing intellectual property portfolio, particularly its storage business.

Davis said Dell does not break out its revenue or earnings by routes to market. "But I can say our channel business overall grew 40 percent over the first quarter of last year," he said. "That's faster than our overall market."

Sponsored post

About 30 percent of Dell's commercial revenue now comes from a partner community which includes over 75,000 partners worldwide, of whom over 2,500 have become certified by Dell in one or more technologies, including server, storage, networking, or management systems, Davis said.

"Dell has delivered about 70,000 certification training classes to partners around the world," he said. "We fundamentally believe investments made in Dell will be rewarded with greater sales."

The majority of certifications are in the storage space, where Dell has managed to acquire not only top-notch technology but ready-made channel partner communities in the last couple of years.

Dell's storage strength began in late 2007, when the company unveiled a $1.4 billion bid for EqualLogic, a pioneer in the development of iSCSI storage. That bid, coming only weeks after Dell made its first concerted effort to build a channel program, gave Dell a solution provider base which was at first concerned about working with Dell but which later formed a core part of the vendor's channel.

In its other significant channel-oriented acquisition, Dell in February closed its $876 million acquisition of Compellent, a leading developer of tiered storage virtualization technology.

The acquisition of Compellent brought Dell that company's annual C:Drive storage conference, one that was unique in that the first couple days were devoted to channel partners, followed by a couple days focused on customers, with solution providers and customers attending together in the middle.

The C:Drive format is continuing with Dell's first-ever Dell Storage Forum, which will be held in Orlando, Fla. early next month.

Davis, along with other top Dell executives, including Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, will be offering keynotes.

Davis said his one-and-a-half-hour keynote at the Dell Storage Forum will be focused on enhancements to Dell's storage channel program, as well as continuing plans for integrating Dell's Compellent and EqualLogic solution providers into a single channel program.

"For our partner community, I don't want Compellent partners or EqualLogic partners," he said. "I want a single partner community. I want them to walk into a customer and talk about how Dell storage can meet their needs."