Customers understand Dells strategy

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

Dells alliance strategy makes sense to GlobeXplorer LLC, a Dell customer that provides satellite images and aerial photography. The Walnut Creek, Calif., company has brought in more than 40 two-way PowerEdge 1750 servers running Linux in cluster configurations. President and CEO Rob Shanks said Dells partnerships with other companies brings value to customers.

"Dells an interesting vendor because they represent a lot of different manufacturers," Shanks said. "It often makes it easier on companies to deal with one vendor to meet a number of different needs."

RSP Architects Inc. looked at HP, EMC and IBM storage devices two years ago, as Dell introduced its PowerVault 715 and 725 storage arrays. Tom Kouri, RSPs IT director, was particularly impressed that Dell boxes came with NSI Software Inc.s Double-Take replication software installed.

"Once I started looking at Dell versus the others, they blew them away in price, and there was a particular application in terms of replication that came with the Dell box that pushed the decision in Dells favor," Kouri said.

But Dells price advantage could be eroding as competitors continue to lower their system prices, which could make the innovations surrounding those systems more attractive. For instance, a year ago, HPs ProLiant servers, which include unique management features, were up to 40 percent more expensive than Dells systems. But HP has dropped its prices to within single percentage points of Dells, said Brad Anderson, vice president and general manager of HPs Industry Standard Servers business, in Palo Alto, Calif.

"When youre 30 to 40 percent above Dell, you can do really cool things, but customers dont care," Anderson said. "Now when they see all that cool stuff, it matters. There is a completely different reception to the cool things youre doing."

For many IT buyers, price is the bottom line. Over the past year, Inc. has reconfigured its data center so that half its servers are from Dell, in large part because of the price.

"Most [Intel-based] servers, in my opinion, are commodities," said Dan Agronow, vice president of technology for Atlanta-based "For a number of different vendors, there really isnt a difference. It all comes down to price, and it all comes down to service."

Dell, Agronow said, exceeds at both. Nevertheless, when he wanted an Opteron-based system, Agronow turned to IBM.

Department Editor John S. McCright and Senior Writer Brian Fonseca contributed to this article.

Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.


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