The definition of OEM can be all over the map depending on who you talk to, so what does OEM mean to Dell? Ultimately, Dell OEM Solution’s value is helping OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, which would include Software) deliver value to their customer more efficiently, with fewer costs, decreased time, and improved service/support. This includes embedded solutions, attached solutions, network appliances, or Cloud delivery.
Q: How does the Cloud fit into the OEM model?
A: Cloud offers new companies developing software (and established companies as well) the ability to reach customer very quickly, with fewer startup costs, and reduced requirements for field-based service and support.
Q: What are some of the important aspects for OEMs to consider when evaluating Cloud?
A: Some of the topics that are not considered today in a traditional hardware , such as WAN optimization, bandwidth constraints, and application performance monitoring, both in the physical and virtual machine, will become important aspects to consider as we talk to customers about how Dell OEM is the complete supply chain resource, whether that is appliance, embedded, or Cloud.
In some respects Cloud represents an extension of the software subscription model (annual or monthly), but with no client/server stack that needs to reside on a local machine. Some applications can be migrated to the Cloud quite easily with no change to the actual engagement, in what some people are calling Cloud Washing. The different interactive and collaborative end-user forums and instant application updates are some aspects that will be leveraged in the Cloud as well in a different iteration of the Cloud delivery
The service can be turned on/off very quickly, allowing end-users to access the proprietary content from the OEM on an as-needed basis. Ultimately, the end-user wants the functionality and peace of mind in knowing that the application/service they’re buying will work no matter if it is onsite or in the Cloud.
Q: Is the hardware important?
A: Newer software stacks, designed to scale horizontally, rely on hardware but the mission-critical nature of the hardware is decreased.
Large search providers don’t care if they suffer a single, or even multiple, hardware failures, due to the scale of their operations. Their search applications will continue to function normally. In a microcosm, this would seem to be what some of these new providers are looking for, to establish a solution that doesn’t run through a single point of failure (hardware).
Q: What sort of transitions should OEMs expect?
A: Getting the solution onto a Cloud platform/model will take some time to insure proper resource allocation, utilization, and optimization, but these are addressable up front and shouldn’t represent ongoing concerns regarding scalability potential.
If properly positioned up front, scale out should just be a matter of adding processing capability and storage capacity. The software should recognize and incorporate seamlessly.
This can also provision the OEM to collect user-generated content for future updates and to make the overall experience better for every subscriber to the service.
Q: How important is the box?
A: Compute functionality IS important, but the branding aspects of a remote and fully redundant/backed up solution are diminished, and this is where the box becomes less important.
Q: What sort of technical discussions will be required in the future?
A: This one is perhaps more convoluted because of what IS clear, and that is the fact that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all Cloud deployment model. I would submit the following are going to be topics of conversation that take on increased importance in the future:
1. We need to better understand what our customers do in order to engage more fully. The question of who/what an OEM wants to be will be under more scrutiny. Conversations around what the end-user experience should be will be ever more nuanced.
2. Conversations will expand to encompass additional go to market models with the most likely outcome being a mix of hardware based/Cloud based delivery models. Financial and Total Cost of Ownership of the various models will be common. Service, management, and utilization, of resources will be under increased focus to deliver higher economies of scale and drive out waste and inefficiency that isn’t core to an OEM’s supply chain requirements. Technically this will represent, in some forms, a decoupling from the speeds/feeds/form factors such as networking, application packaging, testing, remote monitoring of performance, WAN optimization, and software packaging to name a few.
What is clear in all of this is that the barriers to entry for startup companies are coming down and established companies who ignore new ways and means of interfacing with their customers do so at their peril.
Corbin Moore has spent the past 10yrs building OEM relationships in over 40 different verticals and continues to speak with 5-20 potential OEM customers every week. From 8-bit micro controllers to 20G HD’s to 8-Core processors; from embedded MRI-machines to network security appliances, he has seen the market, the business requirements, and the supported offerings, continually evolve. These answers have been revealed thru direct talks with customers, both startup and established.