With the acquisition of Compellent, Dell has decided they no longer need to partner with EMC for mid-range storage. They have said they will continue to provide maintenance and support for any EMC products purchased through them, but I think you need to think about what this means to you. What do you do now?
According to Dell, most people are opting to retain them for the support – certainly an easy choice, and not a bad one, but is it the right one? Logically, EMC is countering with support offers to use them instead of Dell. On one hand, it makes sense to have EMC support EMC equipment, but if Dell is already supporting the hardware, why change? Of course, I’d guess that Dell is pushing to replace the EMC hardware with their equipment and probably providing some nice incentives too. But is that the right choice?
Obviously there are more than a few choices.
- Retain your EMC storage and retain Dell for maintenance and support.
- Retain your EMC storage and use EMC for maintenance and support.
- Change out your EMC hardware for the Dell offering.
- Change out your Dell support for someone else.
- Change out your EMC hardware for someone else.
- And the ever-popular something else entirely.
Partnerships are certainly an ongoing issue in the industry, and I have blogged on it before (here). They can be great, and provide capabilities that an individual company can’t offer on its own, but one of the biggest risks is that one of those involved might decide to do something different. In this case, Dell decided that they wanted their own offering for midrange storage. I don’t have enough technical knowledge to advise on whether EMC or Dell (with the Compellent acquisition) has the better offering, but what I do know is that the easiest answer may not be the best.
Now that the relationship is no longer there, you have to wonder about Dell’s ongoing support. Are they in the best position to keep supporting the EMC equipment? Does Dell backing out of the relationship impact their ability to provide support? Will EMC not cooperate when there are issues? I think we all know what Dell will say, but only time will tell the full reality of the situation.
There are others (including HP) that provide OEM support, so it might be a good time to get some proposals. In addition, if you are now wondering if the EMC equipment is still your best answer, I’d again say it’s time to get some competitive information and proposals. (Read about Always On Support from HP, the industry’s first IT support services architected for multivendor, converged and cloud environments.) It never hurts to double-check, and there is no better way to keep a vendor on their toes than by getting competitive bids. Maybe retaining Dell support for EMC is the best option for you – but then again, maybe not.
I think we all know that storage growth is unstoppable and that the technology is evolving rapidly. To me, this means that we have to think about experience and commitment, not just who has the “best offering” today, or who the incumbent is, or the lowest cost. I also believe that as soon as you are considering a change, whether in technology or support, you have to look at all the options available.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always valued relationships with my vendors, but I’ve also always tried to understand who is going to be the best partner going forward. I want stability, I want consistent offerings, I want competitive price, and I want a vendor that is clear directionally. I also want to make sure that my vendors have robust labs where they can validate the interoperability of my environment (meaning, do they test with competitors equipment, not just their own?) and that they will work with the other vendors in my infrastructure. I want more handshaking than finger pointing!
It is tough enough to keep up with what the business is demanding as well as rapidly evolving technologies such as cloud, mobility, and big data, without wondering who will support your infrastructure tomorrow.
If you were caught up in the “divorce” between Dell and EMC, you might just want to evaluate if either of them are the right answer for you. It might just be time to think about who can really be your partner, and not just your vendor.
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