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Dell's Strategy: Cloudy (and Not in a Good Way)

Michael Dell should give that credit card a breather, and explain to us what the overall vision is for his company. Where do all these acquisitions fit? What is the story, Michael? I look at Citrix, VMware, Cisco, EMC, etc., and I see a story, I understand what they are doing, I look at Dell and I see acquisitions but no one is taking the time to give us a story, to dazzle us with some thought leadership. I am sure someone at Dell understands where all these pieces fit and what they are trying to accomplish.

When Dell bought Wyse, I applauded. It was a match made in heaven and I knew exactly where Wyse fit in and why Dell would want them. Wyse is the number one thin client manufacturer in the world, Dell is in the PC hardware business and desktop virtualization is hot. Acquiring Wyse made them number one overnight in a market where they had very little share. Wyse is also a business model they understand and it gels well with current company objectives. Couple that with Dell's great relationships with Citrix and VMware and it just made sense.

The Quest acquisition, on the other hand, confuses me. I get that PC sales are slowing and margins are disappearing. I understand the need to diversify and I certainly understand the need to turn the company around. Software can be very profitable, but, nonetheless, why Quest? How does this acquisition fit into Dell's the overall vision? Does the company seek to be the end-to-end datacenter? If so, buying Quest does very little to accomplish that, so what is the objective?

If we start with desktop virtualization -- and the only reason I start there is because they recently acquired Wyse -- what are they thinking? Will Dell use vWorkspace to go up against Citrix and VMware? That would be a bad business decision. vWorkspace is a good product, but it doesn't even register as a competitor in the marketplace today. What is the plan ? Bundle Dell servers, storage, networking, SSL VPN, Wyse thin clients and vWorkspace and deliver end-to-end desktop virtualization? That is a very thin and short-lived proposition.

When I compare Quest's virtualization solutions to what Dell currently has in its portfolio, I see so many duplications, AppAssure conflicts with vRanger, vKernel and vFoglight. Now, don't get me wrong -- Quest has some great software. My question is, where does it fit in with Dell? One Identity and Access Management is cool, but as Gabe Knuth writes at BrianMadden.com, are they thinking of pairing this with SonicWALL and going up against Citrix CloudGateway and VMware Horizon? Windows Server Management solutions, does this not become somewhat of a duplicate software offering considering Wyse's WSM? The Database management solutions are definitely a value-add, but I am still not able to piece this acquisition together.

Dell, are you an end-to-end datacenter provider? A virtualization management solutions provider? Are you getting into the end-user virtualization space, end-to-end? Meaning apps, data and desktops from a software and hardware perspective?

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 07/09/2012 at 12:49 PM


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