HPE Chief Sales Officer Davis Slams Dell EMC Storage Product Road Map 'Confusion'


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Sales Officer Phil Davis Wednesday slammed Dell EMC's storage product road map "rationalization," claiming it raises questions about which products will survive.

"More than two years after the EMC acquisition, Dell is still in the midst of churn and transition, and despite the promise that its product roadmaps would not change drastically," said Davis in a blog post titled For Customers, Confidence In Their Storage Partner Is Key- And It Starts With A Clear Roadmap. "The one thing that is clear is that Dell EMC’s storage roadmap is changing; unfortunately for customers, which products will survive is uncertain."

Davis, who is leading the worldwide hybrid IT sales charge for HPE, said that even with the Dell EMC "product rationalization" there is still a lot of confusion.

[Related: HPE Kicks Nimble All Flash Charge Into High Gear With 'Blockbuster' Storage Capacity Efficiency Guarantee]

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"Back in 2016, when Dell’s EMC acquisition was completed, the company told customers and partners in a letter, 'because our combination is very complementary, we do not expect any changes in the product roadmaps except for new products we create that bring all of our innovation together,'" said Davis, who headed up Dell's enterprise solutions business before joining HPE four years ago. "Yet today, we see a different reality with Dell EMC suggesting they may reduce their mid-range offering from four products to a single product -- leading to portfolio uncertainty. This presents a challenge for customers because confidence in their storage partner is paramount and that can only start with a clear product roadmap."

Dell EMC did not respond to comment by press time.

Davis urged Dell EMC customers to reconsider their storage options in the wake of the product rationalization.

"Dell EMC’s storage options may have met your needs in the past, but as the product lines undergo a mass consolidation, the first since Dell acquired EMC in late 2016, I ask you to check their suitability to meet your needs into the future," he said in the blog. "Users have been asking about their roadmap for a long time, and they responded publicly that no rationalization of the storage portfolio was coming; yet, now we find ourselves with incomplete facts and a fuzzy picture."

The Davis throwdown comes just two weeks after CRN reported that Dell EMC is realigning its engineering teams to focus on four primary storage product lines as part of a broad restructuring aimed at accelerating product innovation

The changes focus the Dell engineering teams squarely on a single product line for each market segment moving from low-end to midrange to high-end, and a separate product for the unstructured file and object storage market, sources told CRN.

The $80 billion Round Rock, Texas, digital transformation infrastructure behemoth is currently developing a new midrange product and a new unstructured file and object storage product as part of the restructuring, sources said.

For the high-end market, Dell will focus on its new all-flash PowerMax product unveiled this month, sources said. Dell's PowerVault product line will be the go to offering the entry level and SMB market, according to sources.

The sweeping changes mark the first major redrawing of the storage product roadmap since Dell's blockbuster acquisition of EMC in 2016 for $67 billion.

Even though Dell is redrawing the product road map, the company is not going to end-of-life any current products in the market today such as its SC, Unity, XtremIO, Isilon or ECS storage product lines, sources said. Dell declined to comment on the product revamp at the time.

John Kolimago, executive vice president and general manager of the cloud solutions business unit at Anexinet, No. 209 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said HPE's storage strategy with InfoSight predictive analytics across the entire product line is "light years" ahead of competitors. "Dell EMC is trying to rationalize a storage portfolio of four disparate midrange platforms," he said. "That is a tall order to go through that."

Kolimago credited HPE with delivering an end-to-end product portfolio that is second to none as a result of breakthrough organic innovation, acquisitions and partnerships with ecosystem partners. "HPE's strategy is to one way or another deliver the solutions customers want," he said. "That is a powerful message. You are not seeing that from everybody. HPE is truly the one company you can partner with today for end to end solutions."

Anexinet's "high value" offerings centered on HPE including Synergy, SimpliVity, Nimble and 3Par are up 50 percent in the first six months of this year, said Kolimago. "That's what our sellers want to sell because those products are without peer in the industry right now," he said.

Raymond Tuchman, CEO of Experis Technology Group, a fast-growing Potomac, Md.-based HPE private cloud powerhouse, said the Dell EMC customers are "prime targets" for HPE in the wake of the Dell EMC storage product rationalization. "HPE's product portfolio from SimpliVity to Nimble to 3Par is the best it has ever been," he said.

Putting HPE InfoSight across the entire HPE product line, including SimpliVity, meanwhile, also provides HPE with a big competitive advantage over Dell EMC and other competitors, said Tuchman.

Davis, for his part, said the HPE's "intelligent storage portfolio" with InfoSIght predictive analytics is in sharp contrast to the Dell portfolio.

"HPE’s storage roadmap is both clear and it is constantly and autonomously thinking ahead on your behalf," he said. "HPE InfoSight brings Artificial Intelligence to HPE Nimble and HPE 3PAR Storage. As a result, HPE Storage self-adjusts and self-heals, it transforms how data is transferred, stored, accessed, analyzed, and secured – in the cloud, within the data center, and, most critically, at the edge – and is the only All-Flash portfolio which gets smarter the more time and data you throw at it."