Paul Henaghan Speaks About Dell and The Role Of A Conductor For Software-Defined Technologies

Paul Henaghan, Vice President, Data Center Solutions, Asia Pacific and Japan, was at the Las Vegas Dell Technologies World 2018 and was kind enough to allow DSA a quick interview with him. He started off with EMC running Southeast Asia, and then he ran South Asia and Korea for DellEMC. 

We asked if he thought the data center was a ‘thing’ anymore with the proliferation of software defined technologies everywhere. His answer – “Yes, it is and it’s going to remain for a little while in”

“This whole cloud-modern-mobile-customer engagement-application world that we develop in, in a company, is only as powerful as its back-end systems. And the back-end systems need to exist in the modern data center.”

It is critical to keep the data center up-to-date so that the highly agile and mobile front-end is able to operate seamlessly. 

“It could be anything from an IoT device through to the very latest payment system that resides in your mobile phone. Dare I say it, even moving things like crypto-currency et cetera. So, the definition of the data center has definitely changed, but the concept of being able to manage your data, is absolutely still valid and there’s still a long tail of the more traditional, well established infrastructure, on-premise in your own data center, which manages all your legacy applications but yet on par with modernisation.”

Moving to a time where data will be the defining criteria for how well businesses survive, Paul, who doesn’t shy away from giving interesting examples to how technology applies to real life, shared this- “We live in a world today, where is we take an orchestra as an example, if you were looking after drums and someone else was looking after violins and someone else was looking after trumpets. What my job is to put (the creation) together and make music from it.”

He goes on to describe that the modern data center will consist of all the parts of the data center, and a conductor with a modern visual software-defined front end, to bring it all together. In the back ground will be all the capabilities, resources and environments of a multitude of variants, where the conductor therefore will create the outcome that the business needs.

We wondered then do Dell Data Center solutions need to be built on Dell product and technologies. As we see more software-defined technologies appear, where the hardware is abstract, do people care where the back-end products actually come in. Paul’s comments give a clear indication of the approach Dell is taking.

“You can absolutely not take an approach that says it’s got to be end-to-end Dell. That’s just naïve. The other side of it though, about hardware, where people don’t care, but they don’t care until something breaks. And then when it breaks, suddenly the conversation is very different.”

“By 2030, I don’t think we’ll be talking about what the actual underline hardware is. But there’s still going to be an absolute need, for quality, high performing (hardware).”

The announcement of Dell Powermax software and the core hardware of NVMe, gives the business the competitive advantage that offers a complete loop end-to-end.

“We firmly believe, that infrastructure in its true definition is going to be software defined, but underlining that software is going to be really strong, good quality, leading-edge, hardware that this all runs on. Now, does it have to be Dell produced products? No it doesn’t. There are some very good investments that organisations have made, that we need to support. VMware is a good example. We are a strategically aligned business unit that VMware has some very important, critical relationships that are important to VMware that are more important to our customers that we need to protect.”

The division Paul handles has a lot of assessment tools that allow them to analyse and predict the customers environment based on a number of variables. Where those variables are driven by utilisation of their infrastructure, their future requirements and where they see technology heading.

“In conducting those assessments, we have the resources that allow us to evaluate their entire environment. Be that legacy EMC, legacy Dell, alternative products. When we move forward with an architect solution, we are not abdicating that it’s a rip-and-replace. What we do is leverage off what is existing, and we modernise it.  When we move to modernisation, yes its Dell technology solutions.”

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