I’m researching why formally loyal HPE accounts are switching to Dell EMC and while there are similarities in each account sometimes the differences are more interesting. In this case LeSaint Logistics, a third party supply chain logistics firm that is US based and has between 450 and 500 employees needed a high performance SAN and disaster recovery solution. As noted they were largely an HP/Cisco shop (Cisco is networking only) though they had standardized on Dell PCs. Their customers include manufacturers and distributors in both the B2B and B2C channels. While they started by having Dell EMC, Pure, Nimble, and NetApp bid; only HPE and Dell EMC went the distance and then they decided to go with Dell EMC.
You likely won’t be surprised (if you’ve read my other posts) as to why they are ecstatic with regard to the result.
What Killed The Other Vendors?
NetApp was the first to be pushed out because they didn’t respond to the RFP or questions in a timely manner and the sense was if they weren’t going to be timely when they were earning the business they sure wouldn’t be when it came to support.
Pure dropped out because their maintenance costs far higher than anyone else and even though they uniquely included free controller upgrades, LeSaint didn’t think they needed this benefit.
Nimble had an interesting hybrid solution but there were concerns they were too small and LeSaint decided to go pure flash and LeSaint didn’t find Nimble’s all flash solution competitive or compelling.
Dell EMC largely won because at the same price HPE bid for solution with compression turned on Dell EMC bid one without compression or dedupe (these features would be added later) and, even without these two features, capacity was on par with HPE.
This doesn’t mean LeSaint didn’t have concerns during the due diligence. Mid process Dell EMC launched Unity and that changed the hardware (VNXe) that had initially been bid. Unity was brand new but Dell EMC convinced LeSaint that it was evolved from VNXe and that the risk would be minimal. LeSaint also didn’t trust HPE’s claims suggesting that HPE had disappointed them in the past. So, for about the same price as the HPE solution with dedupe and compression turned on they got twice the storage in 1/6th the space. They also got Dell EMC’s spindle SAN solution because they wanted the same vendor on both sides of the disaster recovery part of the project. Energy usage has dropped sharply as well.
Now that the products are deployed they couldn’t be more tickled. Their experience with Dell EMC was vastly different than their experience has been with HPE. The products were vastly easier to set up, Dell EMC was far more responsive to service requests and questions (hours compared to days or weeks for a response), and generally far less red tape with Dell EMC over HPE. They compared Dell EMC’s products to Apple’s in terms of simplicity, ease of setup, and ease of maintenance. Almost like night and day when compared to HPE’s comparable offerings and they have been an HP, now HPE, shop (for servers and storage) for nearly a decade.
Wrapping Up: Switching Servers To Dell
Not only was Dell EMC competitive on price but they massively outperformed HP on installation, service and support. This has led to a potential strategy change regarding server purchases as they are currently starting to replace their HPE servers with Dell EMC servers expecting similar benefits. In effect Dell EMC storage opened the door and Dell EMC’s solution simplicity, excellent service and support sealed the deal for Dell showcasing what could turn out the be a massive hidden value to the merger.
In the end, and I’ve said this before, while Dell EMC has market leading products their sustained competitive advantage is on how well they instrument their customers and resource efforts that create massively loyal customers. The reason other vendors don’t do this is because ownership for public companies has switched from individuals to Hedge Funds and the result is firms only focused on revenue and cutting deals not focused at all on creating or maintaining a loyal customer base. This showcases the brilliance of both Michael Dell and Joe Tucci and their collective move to take both Dell and EMC private.
Finally, now combined, Dell and EMC represent a massive resource spanning enterprise hardware, software, clients and servers which is currently unmatched in the market. Currently they stand alone at this scale and, for particularly large customers, this breadth of capability and scale is uniquely appreciated.