10 Things Partners Need To Know About Dell EMC's New SC All-Flash Portfolio

Flash Forward

Dell EMC has launched an all-flash version of its staple midmarket storage system, the Compellent SC line, and the company says the portfolio is primed for partners to push into a steadily growing market.

The SC All-Flash line was designed as a response to customer and partner demand, and it fills a gap in the SC line that customers have filled with competing products from vendors like NetApp. Dell EMC also expects the launch to punch up demand in a segment that has been weak of late. In recent quarters, Dell EMC has reported declines in orders and flat revenue in its storage business, and has identified the midmarket as an area of particular concern.

To help accelerate sales, the company rolled out the Future Proof Storage Loyalty Program, which executives say is an especially good starting point for customer conversations around the new SC All-Flash products.

Click through for 10 things partners need to know about the new line.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

The Future Proof Storage Loyalty Program provides a three-year money-back guarantee, as well as a storage efficiency guarantee; seamless data migrations; trade-in credits toward new Dell EMC storage products; credits toward storage controller upgrades; and a 20 percent allocation and one year of built-in Virtustream Storage Cloud on Unity all-flash products. Sam Grocott, Dell EMC senior vice president of storage marketing, said partners should be leading conversations around the SC All-Flash line with the guarantee.

"We are going to back this product up to ensure that you achieve the benefits, and if not, you're protected by this guarantee," Grocott said. "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 Details

Along with the three-year satisfaction guarantee, the SC All-Flash series offers guaranteed storage efficiency without pre-assessments or restriction. The guarantee also includes seamless data migrations and allows partners to sell deployment and other services on top of it. The program also includes what Dell EMC calls Hardware Investment Protection, which allows customers to trade in the SC All-Flash for either next-generation SC or Unity products, or move up to VMAX, Isilion, Data Domain or VxRail products. SC All-Flash also comes with all software applications included and with Virtustream Storage Cloud.

The Virtustream Angle

Dell EMC has been including Virtustream Sotrage Cloud with all of its Unity All-Flash systems, and Grocott said the company recognized a growth opportunity in including it with SC All-Flash, as well. Grocott said SC All-Flash customers are likely to use Virtustream Storage Cloud for archiving old files, or data protection snapshots, moving those snapshots to the cloud. SC All-Flash comes with one year of Virtustream cloud storage, and a 20 percent allocation, so a customer buying 100 TB of all-flash storage gets its 20 TB of free Virtustream cloud storage for a year.

First Time

Although EMC was in the all-flash game well before its acquisition by Dell last year, this is first time an all-flash version of the popular Dell Compellent SC line has been offered. The SC series brings something significant to the table in that multiple arrays can be clustered together, a feature that has been a key selling point for the series. The ability to "federate" SC arrays means customers can scale out an SC environment to 10 arrays in a single cluster. A single SC All-Flash array can scale from about 400,000 IOPs and up to 3 PB of capacity to 4 million IOPs in a 10-node system and 30 PB of capacity.

Mode ls And Pricing

There are two new products being added to the seven-model lineup, the 5020S and the 7020S. Starting prices are as low as 50 cents per GB for all-flash, a price point that Dell EMC thinks makes the portfolio "extremely compelling in the marketplace," Grocott said. Both models are configured as 3U appliances with dual active controllers and powered by eight-core Intel Xeon processors. They come with 256 GB of memory and support for 10-GB iSCSI and 16/32-GB FC network connections.

Bundled Up

In another first for Dell EMC, the company is including all the software customers would normally have to buy separately into an all-inclusive bundle. Every application that Dell EMC has typically sold separately as add-ons to the SC series is now included in the price, Grocott said. "It's simplifying the value proposition and it differentiates the product. It's simpler for our customers, simpler for our partners and a much better customer experience overall," he said.

Competing For Attention

The SC All-Flash fills gaps in Dell EMC's portfolio in two ways. First, it allows the IT giant to confront all-flash power NetApp in the midmarket. Dell EMC's all-inclusive pricing will be a key aspect of that battle, said Grocott. "NetApp has an a la carte model, so 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," he said. Second, the SC All-Flash has a clear marketing objective. Influential research firms like Gartner and IDC will now evaluate the SC All-Flash alongside other midrange all-flash products, giving Dell EMC more visibility in that space.

Market Presence

Dell EMC estimates that the market for all-flash storage is about $14 billion and growing at about 6 percent annually, and that spells opportunity for partners, Grocott said. "There's no shortage of our partner community that can get after this because the market is consuming this at a growing rate," he said. "This and the Unity give our partners a one-two punch to go after that market opportunity." Prior to being acquired by Dell last year, EMC had a clear vision for all-flash, saying that the technology would form the basis of its business. Together, Dell EMC is extending that commitment. "The adoption of flash in the high end has taken off like a rocket ship," Grocott said. "The midrange is now starting that shift as well. It's only a matter of time, whether it's three years from now or five years from now, where it's all-flash all the time. Customers are expecting an all-flash experience going forward."

The Midrange Push

The SC All-Flash is a significant step in Dell EMC's effort to reinvigorate its midrange storage business, which has been singled out as an area of particular concern amid declining orders and flat revenue in its storage business generally. Over the summer, the company said it would hire "hundreds" of new storage salespeople and make changes to its storage sales compensation and quotas in order to emphasize midrange products. The company also introduced new spiffs for partners selling midrange storage. The spiffs are designed to reward partners with prepaid debit cards, high-end merchandise and travel when they successfully displace competing products.

The Partner Opportunity

The SC All-Flash portfolio is part of "Category A" within Dell EMC's partner program. That gives partners the opportunity to earn nearly 20 points in rebates by combining base incentives with lucrative new business incentives available to partners that either displace a competing product within a customer account, or sell product to a customer that hasn't bought that product before. SC All-Flash also fits well into Dell EMC's drive to get partners to cross-sell the firm's entire portfolio of server, storage, virtualization, software and PC products and services.