Lessons Learned from Dell OEM Day

At the conclusion of a long day in Austin, I decided to take a few minutes to provide some thoughts about what I learned today.
First off, thank you to the Dell OEM team for flying me to Austin, putting me up in the Westin and feeding me breakfast, lunch and dinner today. I was surprised by the knowledge of the Dell OEM’s team existence – which I imagine is partially why the 8 of us bloggers were invited.
The List
The bloggers in attendance included:

  • Sandro Villinger (Germany) from windows-tweaks.info
  • Devang Panchigar (New Jersey) from StorageNerve.com
  • Jeffery Powers (Wisconsin) from Geekazine.com
  • “Chief” John Obeto (Los Angeles) from AbsolutelyWindows.com
  • Hector Jose Russo (Dallas) from Geeksroom.com
  • Andrew Lyle (Toronto) from Neowin.net
  • Brad Butner (Seattle) from Techvirtuoso.com
  • The Lessons Learned
    #1 Dell has a white box program. This was news to me. The program is a stripped down offering of their standard servers. This program removes the Dell logos off the server, BIOS and packaging.

    #2 Dell offers server modifications to help brand your server. Google’s canary yellow search appliance is a classic example. Symantec, Quantum and Mirapoint are some other customers that re-brand Dell servers.

    #3 With enough money (ie Google money) anything can be done to alter the physical requirements of standard Dell servers, as long as it meets the thermal, real estate and power limitations of the standard server. An example of this is a customer that required the power switch on their server be moved to the REAR of the server. The Dell mechanical engineers (including Zac Cravens) made it happen.

    #4 OEM deals are only for companies who add value to Dell’s servers. Don’t think about simply reselling a Dell server with your logo – you must be adding value, like custom software. The OEM program is ideal for software companies looking for a low cost platform to run their software on (as a server appliance)

    #5 Dell OEM group has a “can do” attitude. It was quite impressive to see that type of attitude. Each request by their OEM customer is sincerely evaluated to see if it can be done within the customer’s budget. If not, alternatives are suggested to try and stay within the limits of the original goals.

    #6 Dell has a custom fulfillment group that can do “anything” from laser etching your company’s logo to racking and cabling your equipment color coded to your specifications. Unfortunately we were not able to take any pictures of this, but one of the racks we saw being worked on had only yellow and black Ethernet cables installed neatly with cable ties and each end numbered so you could easily see where the cable started and ended. The laser etching on the notebooks was cool and appears to be a great way to add your own branding.

    Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any customers currently wanting to add their software to Dell’s blade servers, but I can envision one day Google making the moveb- or perhaps Microsoft will design a Bing search device on a Dell server. Regardless, this trip was informative to me and hopefully you learned something too. For more on the Dell OEM team, check out their blog at http://blog.dellOEM.com

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