Force 10's Ethernet products are a welcome addition to Dell's integrated systems strategy, which emphasizes an open solution, Dell server head Forrest Norrod said.
acquisition of networking vendor Force 10 Networks
will be a
boon for all parts of the company's efforts to build out its data center
solution offerings, according to Dell's top server executive.
interview with eWEEK,
vice president and general manager of Dell's Server Platforms business, said
Force 10 will add 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities to Dell's portfolio of
products, complement the networking technology Dell already has on hand with
its PowerConnect lineup and give it a more robust cloud and hyper-scale
It also will
fit in with the tenets of the company's larger converged data center story,
particularly the emphasis on offering an open solution that eases the worries
of IT managers who want the performance optimization of an integrated
infrastructure but don't want to be locked into a single vendor.
they're very worried about that," Norrod said in a recent interview with eWEEK.
growth of such technologies as virtualization and computing models like cloud
computing, the trend is toward converged solutions with tightly integrated
products. Most major vendors are moving in that direction, including Dell. CEO
Michael Dell said in June that the company, "instead of selling ingredients
like servers and storage, we're selling the whole data center."
executives announced their bid for Force 10 July 20, a move that is aimed at helping
the company shore up its weakness in networking as it looks to build out its
data center solutions. Dell already was strong in servers, and over the past
few years had bulked up its storage capabilities with acquisitions of such
firms as Compellent and EqualLogic and in services with Perot Systems.
Dell had its
PowerConnect networking portfolio and a host of partners, such as Juniper
Networks and Brocade, but analysts had said the company needed to invest
further in networking. Despite rumors that Dell would buy Brocade, the vendor
instead opted for Force 10.
"This is very
much complementary, very much a growth story," Dario Zamarian, vice president
and general manager of Dell Networking, said during a conference call with
journalists and analysts when the deal was announced.
generally applauded the deal, saying that Force 10's 10GbE and 40GbE offerings
will help bring Dell into closer competition with the likes of Hewlett-Packard
and Cisco Systems, both of which are aggressively building out their converged
important is how this acquisition demonstrates Dell-s intention to deliver
solutions that meet the immediate needs of its business clients while looking
ahead to technologies that will address their future requirements," Charles
King, principal analyst for Pund-IT Research, wrote in a July 27 report. "An
ongoing fact of IT life is that vendors aren't the only ones evolving.
Individuals and organizations change, too, and are best served by vendors that recognize
and address this continuing progression by offering the tools and services
required to yield the greatest return from their IT investments. The
acquisition of Force10 offers just the latest example of how Dell is providing
customers that kind of value."
said the open nature of his company's integrated infrastructure strategy is
going to be a key differentiator from competitors like Cisco going forward.
Enterprises have always been leery of vendor lock-in, and even with the
benefits of highly optimized solutions, that hasn't changed.
want are solutions," he said. "What they don't want are things that must be
together [to work]."
that customers are telling Dell to "give me an escape hatch. Don't make me buy
everything from you."
case, that means that the all-Dell solutions do offer performance advantages
that the products can't deliver separately. But it also means that if an
enterprise wants a more heterogeneous data center, the Dell products can work with
those from other vendors. Norrod said that compares with a solutions like Cisco's UCS (Unified Computing System)
includes servers and networking from Cisco and other elements from partners,
such as storage from EMC and virtualization from VMware.
"You have to
buy all of it together," he said. "You can't break it apart. If you want to use
something other than Cisco [products], then tough."
businesses are still comfortable with buying products from different vendors
and integrating the solution themselves, but the trend is moving away from
that, Norrod said.
"We'll see how
it plays out," he said. "The pendulum is swinging strongly toward integrated
managers will always be reluctant to buy everything from a single vendor,
Norrod said, and that's why Dell is pushing a strategy that offers a more open
approach, one that gives enterprises that "escape hatch."