Walk into any data center and pop off the server bevel. What you’ll often find is a Dell server. That’s nothing new. Vendors have used Dell products as their hardware platform for years, usually buying and customizing through distribution or other tailor shop.
Dell is changing that equation with the launch of its new OEM Partner Program through which other vendors can tap Dell’s manufacturing and logistical network to purchase, customize and ship integrated hardware/software solutions.
“With more than 13 years in helping manufacturers realize their full potential, we’re excited to announce our OEM Partner Program,” said Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of Dell’s global commercial channels. “Navigating the partner ecosystem logistics can be difficult, but leveraging the expertise we’ve built working closely with other channel partners, we believe we can make it easier for manufacturers to bring exciting solutions to market.”
Dell is working with several distributors and manufacturing partners to bring tailored systems to market. These partners include row Electronics, arvato, Avnet Embedded, CCIntegration, KIOSK Information Systems, NCS Technologies, NEI, Premio and Whalley Computer Associates. Also participating in the program are Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE, which provide the operating systems and management software.
“Through our OEM Partner Program, manufacturers can continue to build their own solutions powered by Dell technology, services and support while also taking advantage of the broad array of additional vertical expertise and value-added services offered by some of the industry’s top integration and technology partners,” said Ron Pugh, executive director and general manager of Dell’s Americas OEM Solutions.
The services Dell is providing through its OEM Partner Program are similar to those currently offered by many distributors, including Avnet, Synnex and Arrow. These distributors are also manufacturers of sorts. They have facilities that take bare-iron hardware products by major OEMs, customize them with software and configure them for out-of-the-box deployment at customer sites. These services also include labeling Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM servers with a third-vendor’s bevel.
Other white box suppliers, such as NEI, Crossbeam and Iron Systems, are suppliers of these blank appliances that OEMs use to build hardware solutions or create hardware versions of their software products.
The Dell program reflects the reality that many third-party software vendors are already buying and tailoring Dell hardware for resale under their brands. By short-circuiting the process, Dell is doing more than just cutting costs and easing logistics – it’s trying to lock out competitors, such as HP, from the large ecosystem of appliance builders.
“By capitalizing on Dell’s OEM-ready hardware and Avnet’s integration capabilities and supply-chain expertise, we have the assurance that our SonaVault Appliance meets the demands of today’s small and midsize company’s email archiving needs,” Andy Khanna, CEO and President of Sonasoft, a company already using the OEM services.
Dell’s OEM Partner Program is another sign of how aggressive the company is getting at building and controlling a channel ecosystem that services the B2B marketplace. It will be interesting to see if HP and IBM institute similar programs to promote and retain their hardware-consuming partners.
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