New strategic partnership with Nutanix highlights Dell channel initiatives

The extended partnership with Nutanix, which Dell will formally announce at a later date, was accompanied in Dell’s new channel related moves by other initiatives like a new Dell AI Partner Focused Network, and the addition of client to server and storage for partner of record status.

Denise Millard, Chief Partner Officer at Dell

LAS VEGAS – At the Partner VIP Experience here, which was part of Dell Technologies World,  Dell’s channel team made several announcements of significance to partners. On the whole, this was not an event where partner policy announcements were front and entre, although the company stressed that the AI announcements that did dominate the show were very pertinent to the partner community

“The challenge that faces us is to find the right partners to win and to win big,” said Denise Millard, Chief Partner Officer at Dell. “It’s all about how the value creation shift to AI requires a whole new architecture.”

Millard made reference to the channel implications of the Dell AI Factory, an enhanced version of which was announced at the event.

“We earlier today announced Dell AI factory, and our AI strategy is simple – bring AI to the data,” she said. “We are the only company delivering AI infrastructure at scale and speed. This is happening as customers are shifting onto multiicloud and rethinking their virtualization strategies and have to effectively manage them.”

“With AI Factory, we are incentizing partners to sell PowerFirst with PowerFirst prime even more,” Millard said “We started with top AI partners who were new, and then we  uncovered a second set under that. There are also so many opportunities I see here with distribution, to bring things together and package them up quickly. How quickly you stand it up is important in AI.”

Millard noted that the AI component will bring new partner benefits through a new Dell AI Partner Focused Network, which is specifically for Dell partners who have demonstrated AI capabilities. This program will give partners access to Dell-validated designs – use cases for AI. Partners will also get access to Dell AI Solution Centers where partners can showcase the use cases and solutions to customers. In addition, partners will get access to a series of AI competency training offerings provided both by Dell and by third-party providers.

“The AI-focused partner network gets access to Dell validated designs and to the solution centre,” she said. “This is designed to help them build new AI competencies for training and certification.”

These competencies increase partner tier status as well, Millard noted.

In addition, client has also been added to storage and server for purposes of partner of record.

“We are also changing the program to reward partners for making commitments in key solution areas,” Millard added. The key thing here is selling PowerStore Prime through a partner.

Millard indicated as well that their channel storage strategy, which has posted less than consistent results for years, has finally broken through.

“It is now in 99% of accounts available,” she said.

“We are starting to share every asset in storage and servers with partners,” said Darren Sullivan, SVP Global Partner Operations at Dell. “The opportunity value going forward will  be significantly increased.”

Significant opportunities remain in this area.

“We are a leader in commercial PCS, but we still only 17 percent share there,” said Bill Scannell,” President Global Sales and Customer Operations at Dell. “We are a storage leader and only have 30 percent share in storage. We need you to double down.”

Dell also announced multiple new and expanded partnerships at the event, including the expansion of the Dell AI Factory with NVIDIA with new server, edge, workstation, solutions and services advancements.

Manuvir Das, the head of enterprise computing at NVIDIA, addressed the partner event to encourage them to jump on this bandwagon.

“It’s time for all of you to embrace NVIDIA and all we do because it’s a massive joint opportunity for all of us,” he told partners. “Accelerated computing has GPUs that can do massive computing with the right networking and storage. Now we have the use case for everywhere that GenAI fits. GenAI is a new type of workload. People still think of us as GPU but we spend most of our time designing the best software collaboration. With NIM, microservices for accelerating GenAi deployment, this is not just a hardware stack. It’s a hardware stack and a software stack, and an opportunity for everybody in this room to take it forward.”

Dell has also made a new agreement with Nutanix.

“We are announcing a new strategic agreement with Nutanix in which Nutanix Cloud Platform for Dell PowerFlex will now combine the benefits of the Nutanix Cloud Platform, powered by AHV hypervisor, for compute along with Dell PowerFlex,” said Arthur Lewis, president, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Dell Technologies. Dell will offer an integrated turnkey hyperconverged appliance combining Nutanix Cloud Platform and Dell servers, which will be available with a broad portfolio of PowerEdge server models and configurations.

In addition to these two new joint solutions, the companies will collaborate on engineering, go-to-market, support and services. These solutions will expand distribution of Nutanix software, and will be sold by Dell sales teams and partners worldwide.

“This new partnership significantly expands the range of solutions we can offer, in addition to VMware, Red Hat and Microsoft,” Lewis said.

“We entered into this in large part because customers said they want more options and saw this in a very favorable light,” said Drew Schulke, VP Product Management at Dell.

“We have an agreement to create a new version of their software stack that doesn’t have their software design storage but does have their hypervisor,” Schulke added. “Of course we had a business relationship with them before through which we resold their hardware XC. We have had that in place for several years, but we don’t resell the whole thing.”

The new Dell-Nutanix joint solutions will be available in early access later this year.