Dell To Integrate Technology, Licensing, Service, Cloud Across All Storage Lines

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With Copilot, a customer has an assigned service rep focused on ensuring the customer is happy with the Compellent storage, George said. "They'll sit on the phone for four hours to solve a problem, or talk you through something you are doing for the first time," he said.

Expanding Copilot to EqualLogic would be a big investment in automated systems, proactive monitoring, and training of personnel, George said.

"This is a completely different model for services," he said. "We'll get it to all our storage product lines as quickly as we can."

Bringing EqualLogic under the Copilot service program is a great way to make the EqualLogic product line a more valuable one, as long as the move doesn't water down the value of the program, Mulvee said.

Copilot was one of the drivers of the growth of Compellent," he said. "As Compellent was deployed, we taught customers how to get the most value out of their arrays. We also set them up with Copilot, helped them with reporting. And we told customers, 'Here's Copilot. It's your best friend.'"

When Dell originally moved to acquire Compellent, the question of what it would do with Copilot was top of mind, Winslow said.

"But not only has Dell kept Copilot, they're expanding it," he said. "They've added a lot of resources, and bringing EqualLogic under Copilot is a big move. Copilot was one of the key reasons customers purchased Compellent. With Copilot, instead of waiting for someone to call back about service, they get an engineer on the line right away."

Dell is also moving to add cloud capability to all its storage lines. George said Dell has already said it will build multiple clouds around the world, with one function to be to provide storage as a service to businesses and enterprises.

"We don't see the cloud as competing with storage products," he said. "We see the cloud as an extension to storage. So Dell storage products will start to have seamless ties to the clouds. And for our partners who are MSPs, they will be able to plug our storage to their clouds."

Storage functions including backups and archiving are being tied to the cloud, George said. "Eventually, we'll see storage products automatically ask customers if they want to tie to the cloud. That will make the cloud just another storage tier."

This won't happen all at once, George said. The first step is to offer seamless replication of data to Dell's first VMware-certified cloud, which was introduced late last year, and to other clouds. "I would like to see us build in backup to the cloud as well," he said. "The capability is there."

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