Summary:

Dell owns EqualLogic and Compellent storage businesses and its own server juggernaut — but its channel can now sell Scale Computing’s “hyperconverged” system. It’s a head scratcher.

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Dell is no stranger to opportunistic partnerships. It is, after all, a historic Microsoft Windows partner that sells both Chromebooks and Linux laptops, for example. But here’s something that caught my attention: Dell resellers say that the company, which spent $1.4  billion on EqualLogic in 2007 and $960 million on Compellent the next year to build out its storage business  is now offering Scale Computing’s  HC3x converged storage systems through its channel.

So a leading maker of servers and a power in storage is pushing a converged server-storage system from another company through its partners? That is interesting.

Scale Computing, offers a “hyperconverged” system which combines storage and compute loads on the same CPU — something that one might think Dell itself would have gotten around to by now. It’s also a KVM-based offering, which could signal that Dell, like several of its competitors, is distancing itself from the “VMware tax” associated with VMware’s ESX hypervisor and related tooling. Scale Computing competitor, Nutanix, today announced general availabitity of Microsoft Hyper-V support on its once-ESX-only product.  (Nutanix added KVM support last year.)

A Dell spokesman said he was aware that Dell’s OEM Solutions group has a relationship with Scale Computing, but that’ s not what’s happening here. I’m guessing this channel sales deal is the sort of partnership that won’t necessarily be announced publicly. Scale Computing, San Mateo, Calif.,  had no comment. 

Some who follow Dell, say the company will do what needs doing to deliver products customers ask for, even if that means reselling competitive products in some cases.Analyst Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Strategy, was not familiar with any Dell-Scale alliance but said it sounded like a tactical response to address a need in a vertical market.

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