Dell EMC Targets NetApp With New All-Flash SC Series Storage Arrays, Debuts 'Partner-First' Loyalty Program


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Dell EMC is taking direct aim at NetApp with new all-flash versions of its midrange Compellent SC series storage products, and a new loyalty program one executive calls a storage market "game-changer."

The Round Rock, Texas, company Tuesday launched two new all-flash SC block storage arrays as part of a series of additions to its midrange portfolio, including all-inclusive software packages for the SC series, efficiency improvements to the Unity line and the "Future-Proof Storage Loyalty Program."

Sam Grocott, senior vice president of storage marketing at Dell EMC, said the day is coming when midmarket customers will broadly demand all-flash storage offerings, and the new loyalty program is a critical element of the strategy for the company's partners.

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"We need [partners] to understand how to position the Future Proof Storage Loyalty Program," Grocott said. "It is a game-changer. Typically we sit back and wait for a technology, or features, but we need them to understand how to lead with the Future-Proof Storage Loyalty Program. It's as important as a whiz-bang new feature. It allows them to compete more strongly, win more customers and provide value to end users."

The loyalty program gives customers a three-year, money-back guarantee; a storage efficiency guarantee; seamless data migrations; trade-in credits toward new Dell EMC storage products; credits toward storage controller upgrades; and a 10 percent allocation and one year of built-in Virtustream Storage Cloud on Unity all-flash products.

The loyalty program, Grocott said, was created based on feedback from Dell EMC partners.

"This is a partner-first program," Grocott said. "When they looked at how they compete in the marketplace, we did not have a program like this, so the excitement about how this is going to help them accelerate their velocity and wins in the marketplace is shared by the direct team and the partner team. It is clear that customers are looking for investment protection in that what they buy today protects them for what they need tomorrow."

The Dell EMC SC5020F and SC7020F are the first all-flash models in the SC line. The models are self-optimizing and come pre-loaded with all the software needed to operate them. Pricing for the 3U, Intel Xeon-powered appliances starts at about 50 cents per GB, and they're intended to fill a gap in the SC portfolio and take on all-flash storage powerhouse NetApp in the midmarket, Grocott said.

"NetApp has an a la carte model," Grocott said. "Depending on what you want to get out of the system from a packaging standpoint, it's a bit of a nickel-and-dime approach. We're including all of that value in the price point."

The SC All-Flash products have a technical advantage, too, Grocott said, in that multiple arrays can be clustered together. "One of the big value propositions of the SC series, whether it's hybrid or all-flash, is the ability to federate or cluster together multiple arrays into a single system," he said. "Comparing a single SC all-flash to a single NetApp all-flash, it's going to be very comparable in terms of performance, capacity, features, function. When you factor in federation, the ability to scale out an SC environment to 10 arrays in a single federated cluster, that's where you get the benefit of aggregated performance and capacity."

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