Dell Starting $60 Million Venture Fund for Storage

Dell plans on investing $60 million in a venture fund focused on storage technologies, according to its CEO.

Speaking at Brainstorm Tech in Aspen (a full transcript of the talk is available on Fortune’s Website), Michael Dell revealed plans for the fund but declined to go into much detail. Dell has a history of investing in smaller tech companies, including VMware.

Dell’s reason for creating a venture fund related to storage is simple: there’s a market for it.

“What’s really interesting is when you go look at companies, particularly companies with, let’s say, less than 50,000 people or less than 10,000 people, there are enormous numbers of them,” Dell told the audience. “And as they’re starting to store huge quantities of data, are they actually using that data to make better decisions in real time about their business? Very, very few of them are.”

Dell then described storage as an area of “continuing innovation,” evolving constantly under the influence of technologies such as in-memory computing and virtualization.

The data center represents an area of increasing focus for Dell. “The next business for us is the enterprise data center, the server, storage, networking business,” he said. “We make about a third of the servers that are on the Internet and about a third of the servers in North America, you know, built a tremendous business in storage and networking, fueled by some acquisitions.”

Dell has focused on building a significant portfolio of data-center assets in addition to servers. Its recent acquisition of Quest Software for $2.4 billion gave it software designed for database management, Windows Server oversight, and other areas vital for the orderly corporate digestion of massive datasets; that’s on top of other, smaller acquisitions such as security technology from SonicWALL and Secureworks.

Dell also used its recent annual storage conference in Boston to announce a set of new products designed to help the company maintain market-share in the data center, where it faces serious competition from other major vendors such as Hewlett-Packard. Those products, including new-generation blade arrays and networking switches, play into Dell’s ultimate strategy to “converge” its data center, i.e. offer its clients a holistic package.


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