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A complete 180: Dell virtualization news highlights partners

Dell made its big virtualization announcement today, and the channel is an important part of it — despite the bad impression Dell gave during last week’s embargoed press briefing.

Before we get to the channel play, let’s go over the news: For the first time, Dell has PowerEdge blade servers optimized for virtualization, including support for VMware, Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors. There’s a new EqualLogic storage array that includes a VMware Auto-Snapshot Manager. And Dell is offering consulting services to help customers manage their virtual environments.

In the press release announcing the news, Dell stresses the role of channel partners in getting the new products and services to market. They will be able to sell all of the products, resell Dell-provided consulting services and even provide those services themselves.

And on the Dell Channel Blog, enterprise strategist Jeff Johnson goes over the specific channel opportunities, specifically around Dell and Microsoft Hyper-V. He says the combination will help partners deploy virtualization solutions faster — and with lower costs — because Dell has already tested and certified their compatibility. And he promises that co-branded marketing materials are on the way to help partners make sales.

This emphasis on partners is not what you would’ve expected if you sat through last week’s hourlong pre-briefing, where Dell didn’t mention the channel at all and didn’t even have a spokesperson on the call to answer channel-related questions. Maybe, after several similar mistakes in the past, Dell is finally getting a hang of this whole channel thing.

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