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10/13/2011
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Dell World: Big Hopes To Woo HP Customers

At a time when HP's customer confidence has waned, Dell launches a new event in Austin, Texas: Dell World.

Dell is holding its first Dell World event at a time when hardware based on the x86 instruction set has never been more in vogue. Servers based on Intel and AMD microprocessors are taking over an increasing share of the data center, and cloud services rely on it almost exclusively. But the largest supplier of x86 servers, HP, is in disarray. Having switched from CEO Mark Hurd to Leo Apotheker to Meg Whitman, HP is trying to find the hardware strategy ground underneath its feet.

Dell, meanwhile, is staging its first big, industry event (along the lines of VMworld or Oracle OpenWorld) in downtown Austin, Texas, close to its headquarters in Round Rock. In additional to CEO Michael Dell, speakers at the event include Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel; Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware; and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com.

Why would Dell choose this time to stage such an event? One of its chief competitors will seldom offer it a better opportunity for it to put its best foot forward--at a time when HP is struggling. Dell has made a major effort to get some of HP's best customers, with whom it too often has a casual relationship, to Dell World.

[ What did Ray Lane tell CIOs about HP's strategy at our recent InformationWeek500 conference? See HP Chairman Defends Strategy Shifts. ]

"Dell World is the premier event for IT professionals who plan, deploy and manage enterprise technology," says the show's billing. That would describe 35-year IT veteran Jeff Simons, infrastructure services director at Washington School Information Processing Coooperative, a group of 270 school districts that share a core IT team.

WSIPC uses a little Dell, more of HP, and even more of IBM AIX hardware. But it's looking to phase out the IBM hardware, which Simons referred to with the name used at the time of purchase, the "p Series," now IBM Power Systems. He's now considering a set of x86 servers and Red Hat Linux.

The cooperative has been slowly consolidating regional data centers into a central Everett, Wash., data center, with a back up site in Spokane. Six of the seven regional centers are now centralized, with the seventh to be added soon.

The 60-plus applications in the WSIPC central sites are heavily virtualized; about 60% of the data center runs under Citrix XenServer. Simons expects that trend to continue. That means not only servers with more CPU and memory, but also more I/O. He wants to hear Dell's story on that front.

"Dell's intangibles are worth investigating--their service, their organization. We'll give them a thorough look. We'll go with an open mind," he said.

Dell now offers storage and switches to implement at the same time as the servers, which helps make it a more complex question to address: who is the best vendor for a heavily virtualized shop?

Tim Mattox, VP of worldwide enterprise product management, said in an interview that the event gives Dell a chance to pull together the many strands of technology products now in its portfolio.

Dell World attendees started the gathering with a cool drink on warm Wednesday evening in downtown Austin, listening to a band on an open deck of Austin City Limits, the legendary music venue. The venue may not help answer many technical questions, but it does help customers get to know Dell a little better.

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LindaJoyAdams
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LindaJoyAdams,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/13/2011 | 6:54:29 PM
re: Dell World: Big Hopes To Woo HP Customers
HP and Dell both have ownership in the company, Affiliated Computer Systems of Dallas, TX, a Delaware corporation, that bought EDS. ACS was bought by Xerox. In this world of mega mergers and acquisitions; its amazing that one can be in ' competition' with part of itself? ACS has control of most of the data and files of 26+ federal agencies and most state agencies are coming under their control. A quote from a prof of mine in 1968: who ever controls the flow of information in a government, controls the govt. Many nations have come under the control of this one mega, financially interlocked, international conglomerate. Diligent oversight has been lax by our govt as Congress passed laws that will no longer allow intern audits of govt contractors and they can't be investigated or prosecuted for criminal wrong doing. The govt is relying on civil suits by individuals to do the job of govt and too often its too expensive and often class actions aren't legally available. One Dallas atty wrote me a letter saying it costs 21/2 million to bring a suit and then the atty takes the risk of not being the first one ' blowing the whistle.' Many of us have and use the products and have had great service and satisfaction with the physical products, but the control of data sent to govt agencies sometimes results in loss of constitutional rights and lives and livelihoods are adversely affected. Linda Joy Adams with files and monies missing in 5 agencies under the control of ACS.
Guest
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Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/13/2011 | 6:14:23 PM
re: Dell World: Big Hopes To Woo HP Customers
Migrating off of System p to Dell's zero quality control servers.... Dell has the worst quality ratings and the worst customer sat. Why even go to Dell World? Everyone knows what they sell. They knock off IBM and HP products making them slightly less expensive and considerably lower quality. It is not like Dell is going to announce a slew of technical innovations. They just copy other peoples' homework.

If they are a large IBM Unix shop looking to migrate to Linux, they should consider a System z with RHEL Linux engines. Less costly and more reliable with lower floor space/power/cooling/admin time, etc than Unix or x86... or HP c BladeSystem or IBM eX5... anything but Dell.
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