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Dell Execs: Strong Server, Networking Demand Provided Company with a Q3 Lift

Strong demand for servers and networking in the Dell EMC/Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) helped Dell Technologies report stronger results for its third quarter (ended Nov. 3) than it did a year ago, according to company executives.

“Overall, I was pleased with the third quarter results and the momentum we’re seeing in the business,” CFO Tom Sweet said Dec. 7 on an earnings call. Dell EMC’s performance was driven by servers and networking, he told analysts, noting servers “delivered its second-consecutive quarter of record revenue, with double-digit growth from both PowerEdge and cloud servers on strong demand.”

The company “delivered solid unit performance while also seeing expansion of server” average selling prices, he said.

Dell EMC revenue inched up 2% from a year ago, to $7.5 billion. Servers and networking revenue soared 32% from a year ago and 3 percent from the second quarter this year to $3.9 billion. But storage revenue remained flat at $3.7 billion, hurt by “softness in traditional storage,” Sweet said.

Orders were up in the “high single digits” from last year overall in Dell EMC, Jeff Clarke, vice chairman of products and operations, told analysts, adding: “We outgrew the market in units and revenue for both the mainstream and hyperscale markets, and we are a worldwide leader for servers based on both units and revenue.”

Other key Dell EMC highlights for the quarter, the company said in an earnings news release, were: record revenue and double-digit growth in servers for the second-straight quarter; triple-digit growth in the hyperconverged portfolio, led by VxRail; and double-digit demand growth for Isilon scale-out Network Attached Storage (NAS) and all-flash arrays.

Total Dell Technologies Q3 revenue grew 21% from a year ago, to $19.6 billion and its loss from continuing operations narrowed to $941 million from $1.6 billion.

The company’s Client Solutions Group (CSG) continued to outperform the market globally as unit sales inched up 1% and “the overall PC market moved back to positive year-over-year unit growth,” Clarke said, citing IDC data. The company delivered “above-market growth” in desktops and the commercial segment of the market, he said.

CSG revenue grew 8% from a year ago, to $10 billion, with operating income increasing 6% to $672 million. Commercial revenue grew 8% behind strength in notebooks, workstations, displays and attached services, Sweet said. Consumer revenue grew 10% behind “growth in notebooks and the benefits of our investments in gaming and our consumer and small business key country expansion program,” he said. Its investments in gaming during the quarter included a new mainstreaming gaming laptop and gaming desktop, as well as an Alienware 34-inch curved display, Clarke pointed out.

The company saw double-digit revenue growth in notebooks for both commercial and consumer in the quarter and was the No. 1 display provider globally for the 17th-straight quarter, it said. Q3 also marked the 19th-straight quarter of year-over-year PC unit share growth for the company and it was the No. 1 workstation vendor globally, outperforming the industry and seeing positive growth in every major region, it said.

Among other challenges the company faces is that “it’s been an unprecedented year of inflationary memory pricing and we believe memory will continue to be a slowly moderating headwind through the first half of next year,” Clarke said.

The company, meanwhile, continued to work on improving its storage business “velocity,” Sweet told analysts. But “while we have begun to see some progress, we believe this will be a gradual recovery over the coming quarters as we ramp go-to-market resources and introduce new and innovative product features,” he said.