Michael Dell: 64,000 Servers From Number One Position Worldwide And An Official Commitment To OpenStack

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Michael Dell said onstage at his Dell World keynote today that Dell is No. 1 in market share for servers in North America and Asia and 64,000 servers from the number one spot worldwide.

Dell did not cite a source for the number one spot claim. There is no public statement about the total. I was told to ask IDC Analyst Matt Eastwood about the numbers. So I did. Eastwood replied to me on Twitter: “Dell’s #2 in server units & #2 in x86 server revenue. They are #3 in server rev overall (pesky mainframes).”

Dell has been steadily gaining in server sales. It was the only server company to see increased share in the third quarter in a market that is showing an overall decline in sales. Eastwood’s remark about mainframes refers to the big bucks that companies like IBM still get for selling its big boxes.

Dell counts market share by shipments, not revenues. In terms of revenues, IBM is in the top spot with $3.5 billion in revenues and HP comes in second with $3.3 billion servers sold. Dell does $2.1 billion in sales.

Servers get packed into racks as dense as hens in a chicken factory. Every few days, a technician walks the aisles, plucking the dead ones that died in the heat of the server room. Servers are a commodity. They’re cheap and provide little margin for Dell and the other vendors.

But Dell did not invite a few thousand people to Austin this week for Dell World just to sell servers. Dell wants to sell solutions. That’s where OpenStack enters the picture. Today, Dell made it official in its support for the DIY open cloud effort. Dell will build its private and public cloud platforms on OpenStack. As a first step, today Dell is releasing a technical preview of its private cloud, Dell Cloud Dedicated, with OpenStack.

So where does this put Dell? Well, it’s not going to copy Amazon Web Services, as it appears HP is trying to do. Instead, look for Dell to dress things up for customers so they don’t have to do it all themselves.