EMC mega-merger takes enterprise credentials 'beyond any doubt', says Dell UK chief

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Peter Barnes, Dell's UK director, Enterprise Solutions, tells ComputerWorld UK that customer reaction to the Dell-EMC merger is "very, very positive"

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Dell’s head of enterprise in the UK has told Computerworld UK that he anticipates the company’s EMC acquisition is likely to take the firm’s data centre credentials “beyond any form of doubt”.

The $67 billion Dell-EMC deal – announced in October 2015 in what’s shaping up to be the largest technology merger in history – is awaiting clearance from regulators. Provided the acquisition goes ahead, UK head of enterprise Peter Barnes is confident that not only are customers and partners happy with the prospect, but that it will also allow the company to further flex its muscles in the enterprise space.

“I tend to say we are a data centre company that also does PCs, whereas historically people thought of us as the other way around,” Barnes said. “Our market share in the enterprise and the data centre is higher than the end user computing business where we are better historically known. Our intention to purchase EMC will hopefully take our data centre credentials way beyond any form of doubt.”

“With EMC and VMware and the other assets that come on board, when that deal completes we will be far bigger in the data centre than we are in the desktop.”

According to Barnes, partner and customer responses to the EMC deal have been “very, very positive”. Customers, he says, appreciate the option to buy from single stock, and the feedback to date has indicated that they also value that option for customer support.

Although Barnes anticipates EMC is going to be a “major element” of Dell’s strategy throughout 2016, he adds that the company will “continue to innovate” on the main pillars of enterprise.

“Notwithstanding the acquisition of EMC, we have our own Dell-branded storage product line – the Compellent line – that has been growing,” said Barnes. “It’s now very prevalent in the public sector in the UK. We’ll continue to invest and bring to market new Compellent products because it is an excellent technology in its own right, so storage will continue to be a big focus independently of what happens with EMC.”

As well as further developing its own lines, Dell will continue to set its sights on convergence and converged platforms, and Barnes says the firm has put “a lot of effort” into working with partners such as VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat and Nutanix to bring converged appliance products to market. “That’s what we will be continuing to focus on going into the next year,” Barnes says. Another area of focus will be in Dell Blueprints, which provides an off-the-shelf product for VDI, Big Data, SAP HANA, and Hyper V. “You’ll see a lot more coming out from us under the banner of Dell Blueprints,” he says.

Barnes adds that Dell’s server business in the UK has been on the up-and-up – and that this is “predominantly” at the expense of HP.

In 2014, HP announced that it would separate into two companies – HP Inc for personal systems and printing, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for infrastructure, software and services. Chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Meg Whitman said at the time that splitting into two would provide both ventures the independence and flexibility to tackle their prospective markets.

But Barnes says this line of attack is “very different” to Dell’s end-to-end approach, and that the market has been playing out well for Dell – at HP's expense. “We have moved from having a quarter of the server market a couple of years ago to having it a third of it in the UK now, at the expense predominantly of HP," he says. "In the public sector we are now the number one server provider in the UK.”

“I think it’s hard to understand how that decision to split HP can truly benefit the customer or the business partner," Barnes continues. "I think that by offering an end-to-end capability, across the desktop through to the data centre, we will definitely have an advantage, over both halves of HP and indeed the sum of the halves of HP.”

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