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Dell buying EMC: Is this the end times, or the road to salvation?

In any case, the enemy is now Amazon

Sysadmin Blog: Dell bought EMC. The internet promptly lost its mind. Make no mistake, the Dell-EMC merger is a pretty big deal. Everyone has news, thoughts and analysis on the subject.

While I feel The Register's coverage has been pretty neutral so far, the internet at large has posted rather a lot of doom and gloom.

The most common phrase I hear is "two garbage trucks colliding". Comments about dinosaurs have been spread as well. I think the doom and gloomers have got it all wrong.

One thing that seems to have been missed by umpteen pundits is the importance of Dell still being a private company after the merger – this changes everything. Mega-mergers go south for a number of reasons, but underneath most of those failures is that everyone must dance to the tune of the sociopathic quarterly thinkers on Wall Street.

Dell does not have to do this. Dell is a privately held company and has the leisure of thinking and acting on long-term plans.

Now, there is a caveat: Dell (the man) does not get to run around and have Dell (the company) do whatever he wants. He is beholden to the other shareholders of the company, now more than ever. Those shareholders have taken a monumental financial risk in backing this merger and they're going to demand satisfaction.

Being private changes the game. There are a limited number of shareholders, and they all know each other. Bear in mind as well the context under which Dell went private. It was being hounded by Southeastern Asset Management (SAM) and Carl Icahn to use assets and pay off the existing shareholders.

Yes, in taking the company private there will still be politics and cold-hearted business, but you don't take a company like Dell private by jumping into a nest of vipers. You take the company private by finding investors you can work with, who have similar goals and expectations and who operate on similar timescales.

On top of all of the above, none of us should underestimate what Dell is brewing behind the curtains. If even a tenth of the projects I've heard about are true then Dell is poised to be a tech titan in the long term, not merely a bulk tin-shifter with some second-rate software tools.

Dell was in a good place even before looking at what the EMC merger brings to the table. Combined, I think Dell and EMC might just be the most viable contender on the field.

This is not about storage

Too many people can't separate EMC II (the storage company) from EMC (the holding company). EMC is a company that owns several other companies, some of which own other companies.

The crucial bits are:

EMC II (the part that makes storage hardware and software to store data); EMC II (the part that makes software that helps you find your data and not lose it in the first place); RSA (information security); VMware (Datacenter Infrastructure Software (DIS) that makes your data centre infrastructure go); Pivotal (software that makes your DIS actually usable); Virtustream (software that talks to the DIS usability software from multiple vendors and makes it all play nice); and Airwatch (software that makes your computers which are not in the data centre go).

EMC II (the part that makes storage hardware and software to store data) has hardware, software and services which do the same things as some of the stuff Dell has. It also does the same things as some of the stuff VMware has.

It will take some sorting out, but this is a really minor issue. You keep the best of the things which address all the markets you want to sell to and you jettison or retire the rest.

You fire or re-purpose the excess sales, marketing and administrative staff and juggle the engineers around so that you have enough nerdy types to solve the technical problems on all the other projects Dell's got brewing.

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