Dell has signed partnership agreements with Brocade and Scalent to answer the threat posed by Cisco’s servers and the need to create a computing environment that can handle virtualized servers, networking and storage. The idea is to create what most call a unified computing fabric to track the proliferation of virtual machines and allocate resources to them across the data center.
Dell will put its name on Brocade boxes and take a cut of the sales of Brocades switches. It’s a deal similar to the one IBM signed earlier this summer with Juniper, another network gear maker. IBM also has a deal to resell and brand Brocade switches under its name. Dell executives said in a call today that the fruits of this partnership are aimed at higher-end enterprise IT customers. Through a relationship with Scalent, which also has a partnership with HP, Dell will offer software-based management resources for its unified computing system.
Dell’s partnerships means that HP, which is combining its own servers with its Pro Curve networking gear, IBM, which has signed the partnership with Juniper and Brocade, and Cisco are all offering some type of networking and server product to manage some of the chaos caused by the ability to run multiple applications on one server. After Cisco launched its servers, a Dell executive told Om that its ability to offer its customers gear from multiple vendors, rather than a box from a single vendor would be its answer to the Cisco threat, and it’s still pitching openness with this announcement. Only now the focus is on openness as a result of adhering to industry standards rather than grouping its servers with switches from any vendor.
I still think if Dell wants to play with the big boys here it should stop partnering and start buying. The services required to sell a Dell/Brocade/Scalent package aren’t Dell’s strong suit. But I suppose buying companies isn’t really something it’s done a lot of, either.