April 11, 2012
A little over a week ago, Dell’s Data Center Solutions (DCS) group marked its fifth birthday. As Timothy Prickett Morgan explains in his article subtitled, “Five years old, and growing like a weed”:
DCS was founded originally to chase the world’s top 20 hyperscale data center operators, and creates stripped-down, super-dense, and energy-efficient machines that can mean the different between a profit and a loss for those data center operators.
This team, which now represents a greater than $1 billion dollar business and has expanded beyond just custom systems to include standard systems built for the “next 1000,” all started on a simple napkin.
The origin of DCS -- Ty’s Sonic sketch - November 2, 2006
From napkin to “Frankenserver,” to today
Ty Schmitt who was one of the original team and now is the executive director of Dell’s modular infrastructure team within DCS, explains:
This was sketch I made over drinks with Jimmy Pike late one night after visiting a big customer on the west coast. We we were working on a concept for a 1U system for them based on their requested requirements. As you can see by the date (Nov 2006) it was actually before DCS became official … we were a skunk works team called “Sonic” consisting of a hand full of people. We wanted to take an existing chassis and overhaul it to fit 4 HD’s, a specific MB, and SATA controller. When we got back to Austin, I modified the chassis in the RR5 machine shop (took parts from several different systems and attached them together) and Jimmy outfitted it with electronics, tested it, and it was sent to the customer as a sample unit.
This first proto was described by the customer as “Frankenserver” and was the beginning of the relationship we have with one of our biggest customers.
A little over five years later, Dell’s DCS team has gone from Frankenserver to commanding 45.2 percent revenue share in a market that IDC estimates at $458 million in sales last quarter. Pretty cool.
Pau for now…
March 26, 2012
In a recent post that highlighted the demise of the midrange server market, Timothy Prickett Morgan talked about the new server classification that IDC has just started tracking, “Density-optimized”:
These are minimalist server designs that resemble blades in that they have skinny form factors but they take out all the extra stuff that hyperscale Web companies like Google and Amazon don’t want in their infrastructure machines because they have resiliency and scale built into their software stack and have redundant hardware and data throughout their clusters….These density-optimized machines usually put four server nodes in a 2U rack chassis or sometimes up to a dozen nodes in a 4U chassis and have processors, memory, a few disks, and some network ports and nothing else per node.
Source: IDC -- Q3 2011 Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker
Here are the stats that Prickett Morgan calls out (I particularly like the last bullet :-):
- By IDC’s reckoning these dense servers accounted for $458 million in sales, up 33.8 percent in a global server market that fell by 7.2 percent to $14.2 billion in the quarter.
- Density optimized machines accounted for 132,876 servers in the quarter, exploding 51.5 percent, against the overall market, which comprised 2.2 million shipments and rose 2 percent.
- Dell, by the way, owns this segment, with 45.2 percent of the revenue share, followed up by Hewlett-Packard with 15.5 percent of that density-optimized server pie.
Pau for now…
May 5, 2011
Yesterday was day two of Dell’s two-day industry analyst summit which was held at the W hotel in Austin Texas. The event brought together over 100 analysts from around the world to hear to about the company’s strategy and vision from Dell’s top execs.
The second day kicked off with a presentation by the President of Dell Services, Steve Schuckenbrock which was then followed by a panel moderated by Michael Dell himself. The panel that Michael moderated was made up of the heads of four software companies Dell has recently acquired: Boomi, SecureWorks, KACE and Compellent. The general sessions then concluded with a tag-team presentation by Dell’s CMO Karen Quintos and Andy Lark, VP of global marketing for Public and Large Enterprise. Karen and Andy’s presentation covered Dell’s brand efforts and marketing initiatives in 2011.
Beyond the general sessions
After the general sessions, the rest of the afternoon featured a series of smaller breakout sessions as well as packed agenda of 1:1′s with analysts and Dell execs. Between his one one-on-one’s I was able to grab some time with analyst Ray Boggs, VP of IDC‘s SMB and Home office research and get his take on the event:
Some of the ground Ray covers:
- What were Ray’s expectations coming into the event and to what extent did Dell meet or miss those expectations
- The key role the medium sized company plays in Dell’s strategy
- Dell doubling down on acquisitions and R&D
- What are Ray’s clients asking him about Dell
- What would Ray like to see from Dell going forward
Pau for now…
October 29, 2010
Earlier this week Dell held an industry analyst summit in Boston. The event, “Dell Services and Solutions for the Virtual Era” was attended by analysts from around the world and was a follow-on to the event Dell held in San Francisco back in March.
Please take your seats, the summit is about to begin.
What went on
The two-day event featured presentations from Dell’s senior leadership, customer and partner panels, break out sessions and 1:1′s between analysts and Dell subject matter experts. The first day also culminated with a solutions expo and dinner held at the very cool Institute of Contemporary Art.
What were the key messages?
The high-level messages that Dell kept reiterating were:
- We are executing on our strategy of delivering solutions that are open, capable and affordable which ultimately give our customers the power to do more.
- We are undergoing a fundamental change in the way we’re approaching our customers. We are moving away from transactional selling motions toward a more consultative approach.
Right before the guests arrive. The solutions expo and dinner.
How was it received?
It will be interesting to see the reports that are generated from this week’s summit but we did receive some very positive tweets during the event (check out the whole twitter feed from the event):
- Conclusion from [Dell Analyst Summit]: Dell 2.0 has arrived. We’ve called it 1.x to date. No longer. They’ve cracked the “solutions” code — Jonathan Eunice, Illuminata
- Dell’s vision is quite clear and lingo shows detachment from manufacturer approach – openness remains as a mantra — Giorgio Nebuloni, IDC
- Dell talking solution accelerators. Didn’t hear this message from them a few yrs ago. Highlights strengths of Perot & Dell 2gether — Tim Sheedy, Forrester
- Great session with Dell Health IT team. Great progress and compelling positioning in the space. Good prog telling a sngl story — Crawford Del Prete, IDC
Here are interviews I did with two of the analysts who attended the summit:
Pau for now…