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Does Dell Buyout Put Storage and Data Protection Business Up for Grabs?

What does the buyout portend for storage?

We’ve all been duly awed by the Dell buyout announcement. Over the years, the company has amassed quite a portfolio of storage and data protection and management offerings, having acquired companies such as EqualLogic, Compellent, Quest, AppAssure and SonicWall. Although many of these acquisitions brought robust technology and contributed handily to Dell’s revenue, the company never made the transition to becoming a storage company. This begs the question as to what will now happen to these lines as Dell sharpens its focus and remakes itself into a seller of products rather than an architect of share valuations. Only the most naïve among us harbors any ideas that the latest chapter in Dell’s story might lead to storage innovation and a bid for leadership in the space.

Only 3% of Dell’s revenue is from storage, with software and peripherals yielding 16%, of which data protection software is a part. The overall business distribution is more even with 30% of net revenue coming from large enterprise, 20% from consumer and 25% each from SMB and public sector organizations.

Anecdotally, Dell does not exercise the kind of account control as players such as EMC, IBM, Oracle, or Cisco.

HP has not been shy in making generalized predatory rumblings about picking over Dell’s portfolio, and I suspect Dell is a subject of strategic debate in many more functional boardrooms too. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall over at EMC and NetApp? These storage giants, along with the myriad of smaller storage and data protection vendors, are no doubt strategizing furiously about how to woo customers and key talent away.

On the face of things, storage and data protection represent relatively small, albeit growing, potatoes to Dell. But in the highly competitive mid-tier storage market, these potatoes undoubtedly look mighty appetizing. Dell will need to make big moves quickly if it’s going to keep control of its pricey ($24.5 billion) lunch. In any case, the storage market is sure to heat up over the coming months.

More Stories By Agnes Lamont

Agnes Lamont works with clients in the data storage industry who need both strategic counsel and marketing implementation services. With Agnes' help MarketingSage clients have successfully launched complex products and built respected brands within the industry. Agnes' expertise comes from a decade plus of in-company product management and marketing responsibilities. She has worked directly with the engineering teams and the sales people; analyzed the markets and the competition; defined product features; evangelized the technology; managed the budgets; written the white papers and made the presentations.

Agnes' data storage expertise gives her the ability and credibility to directly represent data storage clients. As such, she has sat on industry standards committees. She has made numerous product/technology presentations to analysts, press and seminar audiences. She has also written many technology related articles. While there are marketing service firms that claim data storage expertise, none come close to the depth or breath of talent, tools and contacts that can be brought to your business by Agnes Lamont and her MarketingSage team.