It’s been a while. It’s been a while, both since my last blog and since an IT vendor had pleasantly surprised me with actual technology. What’s even more surprising is that it’s Dell of all companies to surprise me.

It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with several companies, O2, NatWest, Cisco and Dell to name a few – you only need to search the blog to find that out. I’m not out to really score points, embarrass them or anything like that (well…). To me, they are genuinely respected brands with at least some degree of an interesting heritage where (once upon a time) they did their job and did it very well!

In this world of IT, us IT men (I’m not purposely being sexist) come in three types a Dell-man, a HP-man and a sales-man. Much like the respected companies, I’ve also had a few blog’s about the typical IT salesman and how they should stick to used cars…

Whilst we cater for the HP-man, Cisco-man, IBM-man and the occasional IT Manager who wants something different. My personal preference has always been Dell, of course over the years I’ve developed an appreciation for HP kit as well as the newer Cisco servers.

My first proper PC, after the shed of an silicon-glen built IBM generic PC I had failed to be able to carry out any sound on certain games was a state of the art built to my specification, Dell. I later went on to do contracting and build my first networks using Dell servers and PC’s. The support until the last ten years or so never let me down (once they moved it to India from Ireland it took a severe dump).

Now of course, Dell charge you extra to have Glaswegan’s instead of Indian’s in a whole New-Coke, Classic-Coke type manoeuvre.

My greatest criticism of companies such as Dell are that they have become very difficult to deal with in that they don’t appear to make decisions that make sense, nor do they listen to the people they need to work with the most – their partners! They have been in this great position over recent years that their products have been so good that nobody really cares whether they’re difficult to deal with – it’s just what you have to do. Ultimately, decisions aren’t made in Europe, they’re made in the US and most won’t even attempt to do anything, after many years of not being listened to. If you’re in the IT industry, I bet you can think of many companies like this!

You’d think if nobody can make a decision for fear of upsetting their colleagues then a company would appear to be just very linear. However this isn’t the case, because there are people who do and try and change the status-quo. They get everyone into a meeting where everyone nods, then goes out of the room and promptly derails the improvement. From the outside, this makes us think the company is chopping and changing, a product starts to be developed, but canned or left unfinished. Dell and Cisco are both guilty of this.

I don’t know whether it’s the talk of Michael Dell taking direct control. Or indeed whether as we have decided, convergence and hyper convergence of compute and storage is the future and is the inevitable way forward. But Dell has produced the VRTX, seemingly from nowhere. I for one wasn’t expecting Dell to be the first of the large manufacturers to produce something like this.

Essentially, they’ve took their existing blade systems and created a new chassis that includes storage. The idea is neat and simple. Whilst, a number of our hyperconverged suppliers, Nutanix, Simplivity and Scale Computing have a clustered approach to achieving this goal that requires switching fabric. Dell’s system does this inside the box. I’ve heard rumours that Equalogic may be embedded into the system to manage the storage, which again I think is a good idea and they should do everything to make that happen.

Whilst it’s too early to tell whether this product will grow arms and legs or whether it is actually any good. We’re yet to see pricing or even a VRTX in the flesh, it does give me a glimmer of hope that somewhere in that big machine that is Dell that there is someone who cares how well the company does and has an idea of where it should be going.

I sincerely hope the vision is not let down by reality…

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