Dell Storage Trade-In Program Targets Old Friend EMC

Dell Wednesday unveiled the trade-in program under which customers get the discounts for trading in EMC Clariion CX, Celerra, and VNX arrays, or one of several NetApp FAS family arrays, when purchasing new Dell Compellent or Dell EqualLogic arrays.

The new program comes only five months after Dell officially ended its reseller agreement with EMC.

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Prior to the break in relations, Dell was EMC's top reseller partner, at times accounting for about one-third of EMC's Clarrion storage revenue.

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However, with Dell's acquisition early last year of Compellent, and before that its 2008 acquision of EqualLogic, the partnership crumbled.

Bob Skelley, Dell's global certified partner program and channel executive director, called the program an example of how Dell looks for opportunities to work with its channel partners.

Skelley also said the trade-in program also helps customers who are not sure whether to upgrade their storage infrastructure now or later push that decision forward.

"Our partners are saying they're not losing deals," he said. "They are saying customers are pushing the deals out longer, stretching out the buying cycle. We see this as an opportunity to help customers close deals more quickly."

Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul-based solution provider and Dell partner, called the program an opportunity to help customers make the decision to move to Dell storage.

"Say the customer is at end-of-life with their storage, or are not satisifed with their storage," Clifford said. "This becomes an opportunity for them to actually get some money from it. Or they may be having trouble getting out of their existing storage because of depreciation, and can use the incentive to move forward."

For Davenport, the biggest benefit of the program is that it is a lever that can help open customer doors, Clifford said.

"With Compellent, if I can get in front of a customer, I can close the deal any day," he said. "But I have to get in the door. This extra incentive helps us open that door. A company can have the latest and greatest technology, but that may not open doors. This program shows that Dell understands this and will help us move obstacles."

However, one Dell storage solution provider that wished to remain anonymous said a trade-in program is more of a 'math equation' than a way to increase sales.

"Instead of giving a discount for the trade-in, it's really another discount to get the business," the solution provider said. "We don't sell on price. So it's not a tool we'll use a lot. At the end of the day, you just do the discount. But who actually takes the old array away? It's a hassle. You have to deal with e-waste."

Even so, the solution provider said, a recent deal to replace EMC storage with Dell Compellent netted the VAR an EMC array it could use itself.

"We told the customer we'd take the array," the solution provider said. "We plan to put it in our lab. We can use it to show the value of Compellent vs. EMC, and show how easy it is to migrate from EMC to Compellent."

The Dell storage trade-in program ends July 31.