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Dell GM On Future With VMware And Besting HPE GreenLake

Mark Haranas

‘There are things across the portfolio, both our Client Solutions Group and ISG, where we are putting solutions together that are going to be better together with VMware,’ says Dell Technologies President and General Manager Jeff Boudreau.

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Boudreau On VMware, HPE And Roaring Innovation Engine

The future between Dell and VMware is bright with brand new co-engineered products currently in the works, according to Dell Technologies President and General Manager Jeff Boudreau.

“There are some future innovations coming that we’re working on right now with VMware,” said Boudreau, who leads Dell’s $34 billion Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) which includes servers, storage and hyperconverged infrastructure, in an interview with CRN. “There are things across the portfolio, both our Client Solutions Group and ISG, where we are putting solutions together that are going to be better together with VMware.”

Although Boudreau declined to comment specifically on reports that Dell Technologies is considering spinning off its majority 81 percent stake in VMware buying the rest of the stake in the virtualization leader, he said Dell has a “great relationship with VMware and I see that persisting in the long run.”

Boudreau also spoke about how Dell Technologies hybrid cloud strategy stacks up against Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake.

“We held and gain share in every single market while others eroded at probably some of the fastest rates in the market if you look at storage or compute. So we’re going in different directions. One is going up, and one is going down,” he said.

In an interview with CRN, Boudreau talks about Dell’s future with VMware, competition against HPE and the slew of new innovations launched over the past two months. “My team is about 14,000-strong in ISG. About 90 percent of those are software engineers and they’re just crushing it right now,” he said.

Any comment on Dell Technologies reportedly looking to either spin off or buy the remaining stake in VMware?

[Dell Technologies founder and CEO] Michael Dell is brilliant and a fantastic leader. I can’t say enough of Michael’s business vision. Hypothetically, I can’t respond to that question. I can’t go there. What I can tell you is we’re going to stay focused on our purpose, our vision and our strategy -- that’s not changing. We’re going to be the essential technology company in the data era and beyond. We have a great relationship with VMware and I see that persisting in the long run.

We’ve done some great stuff innovating across Dell Technologies like with VMware Cloud Foundation, but also things like NSX, VxRail and Dell Technologies Cloud -- those are all co-innovations between us and VMware. You’re going to see more of that.

Are you talking about brand new products or doubling down on existing products like VxRail and Workspace ONE in terms of Dell-VMware integrations ahead?

The answer is all of the above. There’s a double down on specific things that we are doing across the entire portfolio – from both the Client Solutions Group (CSG) and ISG side. For example on the CSG side, what we’re doing with Workspace ONE. VMware’s Rajiv [Ramaswami, chief operating officer, products and cloud services] and I are tied at the hip in everything we’re doing. A lot of it starts around the Dell Technologies Cloud, it starts with VMware Cloud Foundation and what we’re doing with VxRail. So you’ll see a lot of doubling down there.

In addition to that across the portfolio, as I’ve said before, we are better together and tighter with VMware. You’re actually going to see new key linkages. You saw with PowerStore last month the integration into the ecosystem of VMware and some of the unique capabilities we’re doing with VMware in regards to traditional storage as well.

I can’t say too much, but there are some future innovations coming that we’re working on right now with VMware. There are things across the portfolio, both CSG and ISG, where we are putting solutions together that are going to be better together with VMware. There’s areas where we are going to double down on co-innovations, so things like VxRail, Dell Technologies Cloud and some of our traditional stuff. Then, there’s a wave of new things we’re working on which I can’t into details on because I might get in trouble.

How does the Dell Technologies Cloud stack up against HPE GreenLake?

I recently saw some nice FUD from [HPE] come out, I always enjoy that. Being an engineer at heart, I’m very data driven. First thing I always look at is, what is the data telling us? Looking at our results versus theirs, completely different stories. We held and gain share in every single market while others eroded at probably some of the fastest rates in the market if you look at storage or compute. So we’re going in different directions. One is going up, and one is going down. The art of deflection is good on their part.

What’s one big differentiation Dell Technologies Cloud has over HPE GreenLake?

What we’ve done with Google Cloud Platform, that’s an offer they don’t even have – let’s be very clear about that. What we’re doing with Isilon and OneFS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is having native capabilities in an industry leading offer directed for our customers who are using both on-premise and off-premise. Having our Isilon OneFS operational experience and advanced data services—both on-premise and off-premise – and having that unique connection is something that they don’t even offer and they can’t do.

If you look at the numbers that Google put out, not us, you’ll see OneFS performance around things like high performance computing (HPC) and some of the things going on in unstructured data, it’s just crazy how fast that thing is in regards to what it can do. So if you’re thinking about HPC and unstructured, this is unmatched in the industry. There’s nobody else out there that has anything like it – that’s Google’s words, not mine. I’ll leave it at that.

Why should a channel partner choose Dell Technologies Cloud over HPE GreenLake?

You can see the offers that we have in ecoengineering with VMware around Dell Technologies Cloud, the offers with VxRail, our offers with VMware Cloud Foundation, you can see the partnerships we have at Dell Technologies with Amazon and Google and Microsoft Azure around providing the much needed simplicity that our customers are looking for.

We’ve been in the market for some period of time now. Our offers speak for themselves, the market data speaks for itself, our customer base and our partners speak for itself. There’s definitely a flight-to-quality here and people need to be aware of that. What I mean when I say ‘flight-to-quality’ is, vendors that people can bet on that will stay with them during good times and bad times regardless whether it’s around the supply chain, the infrastructure, around the financing – people that will be there as a strategic partner. I’ll let the data speak for itself in regards to that. I’m really excited what we have to offer our partners and our customers.

Dell has launched eight new products, from HCI to software and storage, since May. Talk about this innovation engine at Dell during COVID-19?

About 90 percent of the team, out of about 165,000 team members at Dell, are now working from home. That pretty much happened over a weekend. We are doing an amazing job in regards to what they’re doing to support our customer, partners and themselves.

The innovation engine has not skipped a beat. My team is about 14,000 strong in ISG. About 90 percent of those are software engineers and they’re just crushing it right now. I couldn’t be prouder. We had some unprecedented demand dynamics both on the client and infrastructure side.

I have more engineers working on new platforms and new innovation right now than I’ve ever have, which is leading for better outcomes and experience for our customers. You’ve see that with all the Power brands we’re rolling out right now. We started with simplification with PowerEdge, then PowerMax in the high-end storage and PowerVault in the entry space. Those are all three-industry leading in their respective markets. We launched PowerSwitch for networking, PowerProtect for data protection, and PowerOne for autonomous infrastructure around converged infrastructure. In the last two or three months, we’ve had eight new releases. They go well beyond just the Power brands. The Power brands is one piece but it’s a lot more of that.

How important was the launch of PowerStore?

PowerStore is now our leading midrange offer targeting the largest and fastest growing segment of the external storage market which is the midrange space. I’m bullish on what PowerStore can do, not only from its current features and functions, but the underlying architecture and what it can bring us for the long run. No one else in the industry can match us as we go forward. The innovation is going to fly out because of the underlying architecture and how fast we can move things on PowerStore. I have over 1,000 engineers working on PowerStore and 85 percent are software engineers who are cranking away at PowerStore. There’s going to be a rapid cadence of more and more goodness coming out.

Talk about Dell’s new PowerScale and integration with Google Cloud.

We’re advancing our industry-leading capability with PowerScale, taking our leading scale-out NAS capabilities to a whole new level. It’s really helping customer tame the growth in the unstructured data space. That’s where most of the industry growth is coming from, both file and object, we have a key asset there. We built DataIQ as part of that. It’s about dataset management software. This is going to allow us to help businesses find and take action across file and object, really all unstructured data, that could be on-premise or in the cloud. It could be a Dell Technologies asset or a competitor asset. So it’s really some cool technology that allows us to open a lot more doors for our customers and helping them with their ease of data management.

In addition to that, we deliver the fully integrated native cloud file services with Google. It was our OneFS software with Google Cloud Platform. I’ll tell you, with PowerScale, OneFS and GCP we are getting some phenomenal feedback. Between PowerScale, OneFS, the cloud and GCP, it’s been a great story for that hybrid world and our customers are really embracing it.

Dell just launched PowerFlex. Talk about its importance.

PowerFlex just came out, it was previously known as VxFlex. It’s our next step into the software-defined offerings which is really bringing flexibility to our software-defined infrastructure and software-defined storage. It allows customers to mix and match different things at scale. Think two-layer disaggregated architectures: high performance computing and bare metal, single-layer HCI infrastructure for large scale around compute and storage and for large consolidation. It can handle any workload and any applications. It’s another big wave of the Power portfolio. Whether if it’s software-defined, purpose-built, converged, hyperconverged or cloud, we have an offer to support our customers going across that board.

What’s your bullish thoughts on Dell product roadmap and vision?

You’re going to see more and more around tight integration across our portfolio. We’re going to meet and exceed customer expectations. We have the IP and talent. This drumbeat of innovation that you’ve seen – eight launches in two or three months – it’s not going to slow down, it’s going to continue. We’re in a position of strength as a company. You’re going to see us pivot a bit more in regard to some of these more broader solutions around data management, around the edge, Teclo’s – there’s a lot more coming.

You think about the old infrastructure complexity when everything was on-premise where you had multiple vendors, you’re seeing that exact same thing in cloud – we have to help simplify that. So the things we’re doing with VMware and Tanzu, are big pieces of that. Data management is front and center for our customers, there’s emerging opportunities around edge and Telco – these are some areas we’re going to lean into more around innovation. Its about helping customer realize the full potential of their data. As a company, our purpose is to create technology and innovation to help drive human progress. We’re doing that. I’m working with some of the greatest minds in technology in helping solve cancer or helping solve COVID-19, there’s a lot of things we have going on. I couldn’t be more optimistic of where we’re going.

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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