5 Things You Need To Know About Dell EMC's 'Next-Generation' Storage Product Strategy

Dell EMC's New Storage Strategy

In arguably its biggest storage product roadmap initiative since Dell acquired EMC for $67 billion in 2016, Dell EMC will realign its engineering teams to focus on a single product line for each market segment aimed at accelerating product innovation.

"It's an opportunity to focus on a smaller set of offerings with four product lines that pull forward the best features, functions, use cases and workloads for today and into the future," one top source with knowledge of the simplified storage roadmap. "Dell EMC is pulling forward the best-of-breed capabilities across its four primary platforms for this next-generation strategy."

Here are the five most important things you need to know about the Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure giant's new storage strategy.

Focus On Four

The new strategy has Dell engineering teams focusing squarely on one primary storage product line for each market segment: high-end, midrange, low-end and a separate product for the unstructured file and object storage market, according to sources. 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 for the entry level and SMB market, according to sources.

Partners said the new plan solves the issue of overlapping storage products since the Dell EMC merger. "With that streamlined, simplified product set, I think it just allows the innovation to be driven across that product portfolio which is challenging to do when you have five of six different product sets," said Kent MacDonald, senior vice president at Long View Systems, a Calgary, Canada-based solution provider and Dell EMC partner. "Streamlining and putting the innovation around a smaller portfolio I think is what customers have always wanted."

New Midrange Product Ahead

Dell EMC is developing a new, next generation midrange storage product, although it is unknown when the company will unveil the solution, according to sources. The company already has several midrange product lines such as Unity and its SC Series. Dell channel partners account for about 70 percent of Dell's midrange storage business. The company has been incenting partners to attack the $14 billion midrange market through incentives and implementing a storage-only quota for partners.

Dell EMC engineers are also working to create a new flagship product for the unstructured file and object storage market.

No End Of Life

Dell EMC will not end the life of any current products available in the market today, according to sources. Storage lines such as SC, Unity, XtremIO, Isilon and ECS will not be terminated. "When that next-generation product is ready, Dell will seamlessly transition them to the new platform," said the source.

Data Protection

The company is taking the same streamlined product portfolio approach to its data protection line of products. Dell EMC will focus innovation around a single data protection appliance as well as a single software suite, although there is no timeline when the next generation products will be released, according to sources. Data Domain is Dell's currently flagship appliance, while it also offers a set of combined software solutions in its Data Protection Suite.

Jeff Clarke

The storage charge is being led by 30-year Dell veteran Jeff Clarke, who took control of Dell EMC's Infrastructure Solutions Group in late 2017. Clarke, vice chairman, product and operations, has hit the group running, leading the internal simplification charge from both a product and operational standpoint. Other than leading the streamlined storage product initiative, Clarke led a major restructuring of its internal infrastructure organizations this year which ended its Converged Platforms and Solution Division, and moved its hyper-converged and converged infrastructure teams into Dell's core server and storage business units. Clarke is currently responsible for roughly $70 billion of in annual sales for Dell as the leader for both its Infrastructure Solutions Group and Client Solutions Group.