Dell's planned $67bn takeover of EMC has sparked a wave of speculation regarding the firm's intentions.
But for Dell founder and CEO, Michael Dell, the move is just another step in the company's strategy to become a one-stop provider of IT services and solutions for its global customer base, and in particular to drive digital transformation.
Announced last month, the $67bn bid for EMC and its family of companies with the EMC Federation, such as VMware, RSA and Pivotal, is already regarded as the biggest technology acquisition of all time, even though the transaction is not expected to close until sometime in the middle of 2016.
Speculation has been rife about what Dell aims to do with the assets, and why it is making such large investments when other technology companies, such as IBM and HP, are shedding divisions or splitting into two separate operations in a bid to become more agile.
The answers seem to be that Dell believes that scale matters in a company's ability to deliver, that the EMC acquisition will make Dell a leader in key areas of technology that matter to its enterprise customers, and it intends to make full use of the synergies between the assets it owns.
"I've never been afraid to do things a different way from other people and it seems to have worked out pretty well so far, so I'm just gonna keep doing that," said Dell at a press roundtable attended by V3.
"We believe that scale matters. We believe that converged infrastructure is real. The blurring of the lines that have separated the silos in the data centre with virtualisation and containerisation is happening and the software-defined data centre is coming.
"And our new company will be incredibly well positioned for that because we know that customers like to buy these things together, whether it is PCs and servers or servers and storage, and we're very comfortable with the approach we're taking."
Dell also seemed to gainsay commentators who had speculated that the company would be forced to part with some of the EMC Federation assets to start paying back some of the debt accrued through the transaction.
"We are buying the entire company and we think it is a fantastic set of assets," he said.
However, he qualified this somewhat by adding: "This is the largest technology acquisition ever, and it has resulted in a fair bit of speculation about what we may do and what we may not do, and we don't have any comment on that. We think it's a great set of businesses and capabilities, and there's nothing more to say about it."
In particular, questions had been raised about VMware and the array of storage platforms that Dell will add to its own portfolio once the acquisition is completed.
Analysts had speculated that Dell would probably have to spin off the virtualisation and cloud firm in order to pay back some of the debt, but Dell said that acquiring EMC, and thus controlling VMware, will give his company a strong leadership position in storage, servers and virtualisation, and in a good position to deliver a digital transformation to the IT services of tomorrow.
"The software-defined data centre, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobility and security. We'll be able to do these with unmatched reach for customers of all sizes across all countries," he said.
On the storage side, EMC has a number of platforms, including the Clariion, VMAX and XtremIO portfolios, while Dell already has the Compellent and EqualLogic systems gained from earlier acquisitions on top of the PowerVault products.
But Dell claimed that the storage assets from the two companies are highly complementary and have only a limited overlap.
"What our storage product lines are trying to do and what the EMC storage product lines are trying to do are somewhat different. EMC probably has seven or so main storage product lines, we have one or two, and going from seven to eight or seven to nine is not a problem at all. We'd much rather have an overlap than a gap," he said.
And existing customers can be assured that Dell is not going to leave them stranded with an orphaned product line, he added.
"We will continue with all the product lines to enhance them and improve them, and we're not going to leave any customers behind," he said.
Dell detailed some of the problems that its customers face, including a growing concern among many business leaders that some startup is going to come from nowhere and "do an Uber" to their business model.
"It goes to this whole topic of digital transformation and business transformation. Businesses are realising that, whether they make products or services, they have to use information to improve on those and make them better. The cost of bandwidth and computing keeps going down at such a rate that it is possible to completely invent a new business or reinvent a business using technology," he said, dubbing this "digital fear".
"The reality is that everyone has to become a software company, because that's where the value is shifting to, and in order to do that they have to squeeze value out of the infrastructure, and the only way to do that is to move the problem up to the application and data layer and get out of the business of managing all these IT silos.
"This is what our customers are struggling with and we have to help them with that. We always design our business from the customer back, and consider what problems they have. They now have these two problems: they have the problem of digital transformation, and it has to be funded from the current infrastructure."
In other words, Dell sees its mission as helping customers transition to the new world of software-defined everything, where data is the new prized resource and having the infrastructure and agility to take advantage of new opportunities is all important.
But customers cannot just throw out the infrastructure they have already invested in and start afresh, so they need help in adapting and evolving what they already have.
This, it seems, is where Dell sees the various assets from the EMC Federation fitting into its roadmap.
"One of the biggest opportunities is the combination of the world's leading server business and the world's leading storage business, and the excitement we see from customers and partners around that is great," Dell said.
"If you think about how IT is evolving, we're going to have public clouds, we're going to have software-as-a-service, and now the software around converged infrastructure and hyperconverged is closing the gap in bringing the problem up to the level of the applications and data and bringing many of those benefits of public cloud to the on-premise data centre," he said.
VMware in particular is very well positioned to help customers make the combination of on-premise and public provisioned IT services into a seamless experience, according to Dell.
The caveat to all this is that it is still very early days for the Dell and EMC merger, especially as the transaction itself is still some way from closing.
However, if what Dell is saying can be believed, it looks like his firm intends to keep and use the assets from the acquisition to truly become an IT services giant to rival the likes of HP, IBM and Cisco.
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