RSA sale spells a new chapter for Dell

The divestment marks the end of a five-year journey that began with EMC

It’s shaping up to be a year of big moves in the IT industry. While Xerox and HP circle each other and companies like Google and FireEye snap up smaller businesses, Dell Technologies has announced this week that it will be selling off RSA Security to a consortium of buyers led by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The security firm has a long and storied history, founded by the developers of the RSA public key cryptographic algorithm which still underpins a good deal of cybersecurity today. It joined the EMC Federation in 2006, but found itself under the benevolent leadership of Michael Dell back in 2015 after the mammoth merger that created both Dell EMC and the wider Dell Technologies family. 

As part of that merger, Dell absorbed not just EMC, but also RSA, SecureWorks, VMware, Pivotal and Virtustream, creating a somewhat mis-matched portfolio. Dell and EMC make for obvious bedfellows thanks to their shared focus on infrastructure hardware, and VMware offers a range of complementary capabilities. The others, however, felt somewhat out of place, offering cloud and software services that didn’t really fit with Dell’s infrastructure-heavy offering.

Now, however, the company looks a lot more streamlined. RSA was by far the biggest and oddest outlier in Dell’s portfolio, and now that it’s gone, a new shape is starting to reveal itself. VMware has quickly become the golden child of Dell’s stable, with multiple co-branded initiatives and product synergies, and the portfolio has been reshuffled to reflect this. Pivotal is now owned by VMware, and it’s not unreasonable to expect that Virtustream will go the same way before too long – the latter company is geared towards supporting cloud migration, which meshes exceedingly well with VMware’s multi-cloud focus.

This just leaves SecureWorks. Another odd one out within the Dell Technologies family, the managed security services and threat detection provider doesn’t really have an obvious place beside the rest of Dell’s subdivisions – particularly given that VMware’s latest acquisition, Carbon Black, fills what few strategic roles it could reasonably be expected to play. If I was a betting man, I’d be inclined to put money on it also being sold off before the year’s out.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

What, then, does that leave us with? Well, in short, it leaves us with a streamlined, hyper-focused hybrid cloud powerhouse. Dell EMC’s class-leading infrastructure hardware, coupled with VMware’s dominance of the software frameworks that run on it, makes for a formidable combination. Without the baggage of tangentially-related sub-brands to slow it down, Dell Technologies is free to divert its full focus (discounting its client computing business) on the back-end infrastructure markets in which it has the strongest position, rather than spreading itself thin trying to be all things to all customers.

Fundamentally, this is a clear statement of intent from Dell, and maps out a trajectory that is more focused, more thoughtful and more ruthlessly efficient than we’ve yet seen from the company. If I were a rival vendor, I’d be feeling somewhat worried right about now.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/hardware/laptops/356135/dell-inspiron-14-7000-review-capable-but-not-uncompromising
Laptops

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 review: Capable, but not uncompromising

18 Jun 2020
Visit/marketing-comms/business-communications/355842/dell-technologies-announces-q1-2021-financial
business communications

Dell Technologies reports strong Q1 as laptop sales soar

29 May 2020
Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355785/dell-emc-poweredge-r7525-review-an-epyc-core-density-to-make
Server & storage

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7525 review: An EPYC core density to make Intel weep

26 May 2020
Visit/server-storage/servers/355540/dell-emc-updates-server-line-with-powerstore
servers

Dell EMC updates storage line with PowerStore

5 May 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/security/vulnerability/356295/microsoft-patches-high-risk-flaws-that-can-be-exploited-with-a
vulnerability

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/34623/how-to-connect-one-two-or-more-monitors-to-your-laptop-including-usb-type-c
Laptops

How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop

29 Jun 2020