25 Acquisitions That Paved The Way For Dell's Enterprise Evolution

How We Got Here

Dell, which until about two years ago was on an enterprise acquisition tear, is reportedly in advanced talks to buy storage giant EMC.

EMC has a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion. The acquisition would be one of the biggest in tech industry history, and it would make Dell an enterprise computing powerhouse alongside Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.

Since early 2006, Dell has spent a whopping $14 billion on 31 companies, most of them enterprise-focused. Here are Dell's most significant acquisitions, ranted by CRN in order of importance.


In February 2008, Dell scooped up MessageOne, a cloud e-mail management, compliance and archiving solution, for about $155 million. Dell tied the MessageOne solution into its Email Management Services portfolio.

ASAP Software

Dell's $340 million deal for software solutions and licensing services provider and Corporate Express subsidiary ASAP Software in November 2007 improved Dell’s software business by integrating ASAP’s expertise in managing software licensing, purchasing, renewals and compliance.

Silverback Technologies

Dell waded into the MSP space in July 2007 when it acquired MSP platform vendor Silverback Technologies. By then, the Billerica, Mass.-based firm had become a major player in the channel by aggressively pricing its remote IT monitoring and management technology to VARs. It cut prices at a time when a growing number were entering the MSP segment.


In a stock purchase deal worth about $12 million, Dell acquired the Microsoft IT consulting and solutions portions of Allin in January 2009. For its money, Dell got a boost in its Microsoft expertise, with the acquired business units specializing in consulting services based on Microsoft's core infrastructure, as well as business management software and services.

RNA Networks

Dell quietly acquired RNA in June 2011, just five years after the Portland, Ore.-based firm was founded. The company develops memory virtualization software that accelerates applications by extending server memory and speeding up storage.


Dell acquired Everdream, a SaaS provider of solutions for remote-service management, in December 2007. The buy extended Dell's remote management of servers, storage and printers to desktops, notebooks and other end-user devices globally. At the time, Dell said the acquisition was a key component of its strategy to "Simplify IT."


In a court liquidation action, Dell spent $12 million on intellectual property for clustered file systems from Israel-based developer Exanet. Almost immediately, Dell began integrating Exanet into its other storage technologies.


StatSoft was the first acquisition Dell made since going public in a nearly $25 billion leveraged buyout in October 2013. StatSoft is a 30-year-old provider of analytics software and solutions for data mining, predictive analytics and data virtualization.

Clerity Solutions

When Dell acquired Clerity Solutions in April 2012, it made the small firm part of the Dell Services organization established three years prior with the acquisition of Perot Systems. Chicago-based Clerity provides mainframe migration, modernization and optimization solutions. The company architects, designs and configures comprehensive implementations with all the necessary software and hardware.

Make Technologies

The acquisition of Make Technologies rounded out a big April 2012 for Dell. During a four-day stretch that month, the company unveiled the acquisitions of Wyse, Clerity and Make. Like Clerity, Make would wind up in Dell Services. Make provides application modernization software and services that reduce the cost, risk and time required to re-engineer applications portfolios so customers can reduce legacy infrastructure operating costs and run the applications more effectively on open, standardized platforms, including the cloud.

Ocarina Networks

Dell bought Ocarina Networks in July 2010 as part of a storage technology binge. Ocarina's deduplication technology is content-aware, meaning it looks at the content of a file and how it is structured to choose the best way to compress and dedupe the data.

Gale Technologies

When Dell bought infrastructure automation software firm Gale Technologies, now Active System Manager, for $341 million in November 2012, industry watchers took it as a sign that top brass in Round Rock were ready to go head-to-head with Cisco and VMware in the converged infrastructure business. At around the same time as the Gale deal, Cisco revealed plans to acquire Cloupia and VMware acquired DynamicOps.


Dell bought privately held Scalent to add enhanced virtualization capabilities to its data center management solutions. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Scalent is a developer of software that helps customers build IT infrastructure that is efficient and easily scalable.


Dell acquired cloud management software and services provider Enstratius in May 2013. Enstratius is available in Software-as-a-Service form, or as on-premise software. Dell envisioned Enstratius as a complement to Gale, by providing multicloud management and application configuration capabilities and integration of converged offerings with cloud systems management.

Credant Technologies

Credant has become a major component of Dell's security strategy since its acquisition in December 2012. Credant's data protection solutions are designed to work with businesses' existing infrastructure and management processes, making deployment and management simpler and more agile.


To kick off 2011, Dell bought SecureWorks for $612 million. Like Boomi (see next slide), the Security-as-a-Service, managed security services, security and risk consulting services and threat intelligence firm has since been named by Silver Lake Partners as a candidate for spin-out.


Dell bought the cloud software integrator in late 2010 for an undisclosed amount. In mid-2015, however, managers at Silver Lake Partners -- the private equity firm that owns about 25 percent of Dell -- said Silver Lake and Dell were considering spinning out Boomi.

Perot Systems

When Dell dropped $3.9 billion for Perot Systems in November 2009, Perot was No. 51 on CRN's then-named VAR 500 list. The buy provided Dell with services expertise around applications, technology, infrastructure, business processes and consulting.


In February 2010, Dell acquired KACE, a supplier of systems management appliances for midmarket customers. KACE expanded Dell's systems management product portfolio, helped the vendor expand its partner base, and has become a key component of Dell's security business.

Wyse Technology

The Wyse acquisition in April 2012 made Dell a leader in the virtualized client and cloud client device market almost instantly. Wyse was combined with Dell's other virtualization offerings in the server, storage and desktop markets, making the company a full-range provider of cloud computing and desktop virtualization solutions. At the time of the acquisition, Wyse was the industry's top producer of thin-client devices and related software used in building virtual desktop infrastructure and cloud-based computing solutions.

Quest Software

The $2.4 billion acquisition of Quest Software in July 2012 was a sign that Dell was prepared to spend its way into a transformation away from traditional hardware. Quest came to the deal with expertise in security and end-user access management, as well as virtualization. Dell said the acquisition would help it "solve the most common and most challenging IT problems."


Since acquiring the all-channel SonicWall in March 2012, Dell has made it the cornerstone of its security strategy. SonicWall TZ appliances are among the best-selling network security products in the industry. Dell executives have been aggressive in pitting SonicWall against rival Cisco, telling CRN last spring that Cisco's security solutions cost at least three times more than comparable Dell offerings, and tend to be complex and difficult to manage.

Force 10 Networks

Dell spent $700 million acquiring Ethernet switch developer Force 10 Networks in August 2011. Shortly thereafter, Dell changed the name of the networking company to Dell Force10, and the business was folded into the Dell Networking brand. Force 10's switches are designed for virtualizing and automating conventional data center and cloud networks.

Compellent Technologies

The Compellent acquisition in December 2010 was a $960 million move that gave Dell one of the industry's leading storage virtualization and cloud storage technologies along with a big channel boost. With the Compellent buy, Dell snapped up more than 2,500 midsize enterprise, large enterprise and cloud customers, as well as 450 channel partners worldwide.


Dell's $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic set the table for Dell's enterprise architecture certification and channel program. Dell bought the provider of high-performance iSCSI SAN solutions optimized for virtualization in November 2007.