Dell has been busy this week. Today they announced the acquisition of Clerity, a mainframe migration and modernization solution provider, and the intent to fold them into their services division. Clerity is one of the leaders in mainframe “rehosting” or the ability to migrate apps from legacy mainframes to equipment elsewhere that can provide the same service at reduced cost.
Yesterday, the company announced they would acquire Wyse Technology, which sells thin clients and cloud management and desktop virtualization (DVI) management software tools. Wyse also has a huge patent portfolio and has been around since the early days of the PC era. Back then, they sold low-cost green-screen terminals and became second only to IBM in that market. They used this expertise to move into selling thin clients that first worked with Windows Terminal Servers and eventually became more DVI-oriented.
Dell has bought their way into plenty of virtualization experience with both the Compellent storage networking division and its Kace division of managed imaging and application virtualization products. The latter are used in classrooms, call centers and other high-volume dense PC installations where you want everyone to run from the same desktop configuration. DVI is somewhat similar but leverages more common VMware-style virtualization products. Dell would be the first company that would offer a wide range of virtualization solutions (desktop, server, storage, applications and management) outside of VMware and Citrix. And while the virtualization story is a nice one for Dell, the proof will be if they can actually integrate this broad collection of technologies in some meaningful way. I think the real reason they bought Wyse is for their reseller network and to augment their sales channels with folks who understand virtualization.
The company has certainly been on a tear buying up businesses over the past year. They purchased backup software vendor AppAssure and Force10 Networks and picked up SonicWall last month. With each of these acquisitions, Dell picked up companies with several hundred million dollars in revenues and hundreds of employees, so the real trick will be in how they will integrate into existing Dell business units. The Kace deal went down two years ago and has been highly successful by most industry observers, but for the most part Dell has kept the original Kace staffing intact and used the deal as a mechanism to train their existing general sales force. I would anticipate that this week’s deals will result in similar treatments.