Dell Renames Storage Forum Event To Emphasize Diverse Solutions

Dell, in keeping with plans to emphasize its transition to a provider of enterprise solutions, has quietly changed the name of its Dell Storage Forum to Dell Enterprise Forum.

The Dell Storage Forum, formerly known as Compellent C-Drive before Dell in 2011 acquired Compellent, brings together solution providers and customers in a channel-focused event.

The change, first unveiled in a February Dell blog post, comes at a time when Dell is struggling to change its industry-wide perception as a PC vendor to a provider of full end-to-end enterprise solutions.

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That struggle has led Dell to move to go private in a $24-billion-plus leveraged buyout.

That charge has been led by Dell CEO Michael Dell, who last year famously declared his company an "end-to-end solutions" company.

Changing the name of Dell's annual combined partner-customer event from Dell Storage Forum to Dell Enterprise Forum is in line with the company's plan to emphasize how diversified Dell's business has become, said Scott Horst, executive director for Dell storage marketing.

The name change stems from a couple of reasons, Horst said.

"We've gotten a lot of requests for more content," he said. "Customers are looking at their data centers and seeing a lot going on. And for Dell, the emphasis is on end-to-end solutions. With our converged infrastructure and Active System offerings, we're getting more and more platforms. And customers want to go deeper on them."

Horst, who came to Dell via that company's acquisition of Compellent, has headed the annual partner-customer event since it was formed as Compellent C-Drive in 2007.

The event was much smaller back then, Horst said. It started out with about 150 attendees, but grew to about 1,200 attendees last year split almost evenly between partners and customers, he said.

It was also a much smaller event under Compellent. The solution provider party in 2009 was held in a bowling alley. "We're too big for bowling alleys now," he said.

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Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider and partner of Compellent from when that company was formed, called the name change to Dell Enterprise Forum a good choice for Dell.

"In the past, the event was storage-centric, which was good," Clifford said. "But Dell now has a strong enterprise focus. And, the enterprise is centered on storage."

The fact that the name change is happening even as Dell tries to change its image from being a PC company makes sense, Clifford said.

"The client business is an important part of Dell," he said. "Going private gives Dell a chance to focus on both the client and the enterprise business, and that's good for everyone."

Clifford said he is looking forward to hearing more about enterprise-wide solutions at this year's Dell Enterprise Forum, which is slated to be held from June 3 to June 6 in San Jose, Calif.

"The word is, the forum will focus on solutions such as Quest Software or Force10 networking with servers, and how together the enterprise can be a more powerful story," he said.