Dell has been called out in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for data center networking infrastructure, which is for the MXLs attached to Blades. Gartner has placed Dell in the “niche players” area, joining IBM, Avaya, Huawei, Enterasys and Extreme.
Figure 1: The Magic Quadrant
Dell’s acquisition of Force10 Networks has extended the depth of Dell’s expertise across all data center networking technologies through its internal server capabilities, leveraging its switching acquisition and utilizing storage relationships that can be deployed as a “data center in a chassis” or built as a fabric. Dell quickly integrated Force10 switching into its PowerEdge M-series blade server chassis and has clearly invested in building its networking presence. Dell should be considered for the shortlists of enterprise data centers, especially if PowerEdge servers are being considered or custom implementations are needed for private cloud opportunities.
- The Dell Force10 offering has a broad portfolio and strong road map for clients that are looking for consistent performance, and energy-efficient and price competitive components with the ability to be deployed in private or public cloud solutions.
- Large enterprises and cloud infrastructure providers can expect a strong direct model with Dell; its Data Center Solutions group targets high-end customers and offers custom design and manufacturing capabilities as an end-to-end data center solutions provider.
- Dell has a strong focus on network automation, and that allow enterprises to simplify and integrate network operations into broader data center management processes.
- Customer support remains a strength with Dell references.
- Dell needs to continue to broaden its portfolio to deliver a more complete convergence of data and storage networking (especially for ToR switches), and to better articulate and further develop a more comprehensive SDN strategy.
- Dell needs to extend its marketing and awareness of the new Active System architecture, and to better leverage its strengths in servers and storage, to take advantage of its increasing capabilities in this market.
- As a smaller and relatively new player in data center networks, Dell lacks an enterprise network installed base that is often leveraged by market leaders.