SAN JOSE: Dell believes that software will help it differentiate from rival storage vendors as the firm touts the availability of workload-dependant Compellent and EqualLogic storage products.
Dell's decision to continue with two distinct storage products in the shape of Compellent and EqualLogic has led the firm to target workload-dependent storage products that use software, rather than hardware, to stand out. Michael McGuire, vice president of Global Storage Sales at Dell, told V3 that adapting storage products by software will give firms a quicker return on investment and help Dell retain customers for longer.
McGuire said that not only would catering for workloads improve customers' return on investment but protect their capital investment. He said: "We certainly see the benefit to the customer being workload centric is a much better investment return and protection."
According to McGuire, working towards meeting customers' workloads rather than prescribing a storage product is as much down to the software as the actual hard drives and switch gear. Asked whether software is a way that Dell and other storage vendors can differentiate their products from each other he said: "We think it is. That's why we are investing that way and that's why there is an investment in our enterprise group to have this convergence and active infrastructure viewpoint into the market."
McGuire said that improving software on its storage products helped the firm improve its relationship with the customer. "If we do investment protection as a design tenet, Dell is partner to the customer, and then Dell is deeper than just a storage box. We made some announcements on storage this week, which for some of our customers is quite frankly going to be a free update. We want to show our customers that we hold to our original message, which was investment protect."
Dell announced its Compellent Storage Center 6.4 software update and Fluid File System 3 at its Enterprise Forum this week, touting improved support for different types of storage devices and improved IOPS when using flash-based storage. McGuire said that the updates could, for some of the firm's customers, be the difference between keeping existing hardware and buying new hardware.
McGuire's comments regarding the growing dependency of software in storage products highlight how storage, much like x86 servers, is becoming increasingly a commodity infrastructure item. Dell's focus on meeting workloads and offering software updates instead could force other storage vendors to look beyond simply selling hardware if they want to keep customers.
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