Did you catch the buzz? Dell has announced its intent to acquire SonicWALL, setting off a wave of questions about Dell’s future channel plans. But our resident blogger has some more concrete answers, thanks to a chat with Greg Davis, Dell’s VP of Channels for the Americas. Here’s a scoop only The VAR Guy can give you ...

Cutting to the quick, our resident blogger was deeply interested in Dell’s plans to integrate SonicWALL, since Dell has been on somewhat of an assimilation bender. If you haven’t noticed, just take a look at Dell’s data path evolution with EqualLogic and Compellent.

Davis was happy to talk to that point, and assured The VAR Guy that Dell has been calling, e-mailing and reaching out to all its key channel partners, ensuring them “just as in previous acquisitions, we’ve still got work to do,” and partners shouldn’t feel threatened by the new acquisition. “We’re doing integration planning and [our] due diligence. Bringing new products to the Dell portfolio can enhance our [existing] relationship with our channel partners.”

Davis also said the same amount of care, if not more, would be taken to ensure SonicWALL partners and Dell partners are given a best-of-breed mix when a fully developed partner program emerges. “We want to be able to share the entire Dell Storage portfolio as one solution to meet the needs of customers. It’ll be the same when we talk about security and threat management,” Davis said, explaining how SonicWALL eventually could meld with Dell’s other security offerings.

Davis admitted that much of Dell’s acquisition plans have focused around data center integration and delivering end-to-end solutions for customers. Naturally, SonicWALL was a fit when Dell came looking for those enhanced security and firewall solutions. “We want to deliver to our partners and enable our partners to sell a complete suite of products, not just a particular product line.”

So what are Dell’s big-picture plans? “Acquisitions like this really help me and the team grow and add value. Having one more product in the data center focused on security ... is a real opportunity to continue to offer our customers [and partners] great value.” Adding to that, Davis noted SonicWALL products are “already being sold through many of the same [Dell] partners,” which could make the migration and integration of Dell and SonicWALL partners easier than anticipated. Bottom line? Dell and SonicWALL represent “... continue[d] investment in the channel with terrific people who understand the channel business.”

These are all bold and ambitious plans for Dell, no doubt. And while Dell won’t likely be competing with the likes of IBM anytime soon, our resident blogger believes Dell has slowly amassed a formidable portfolio capable of sparing with competitors including HP. The VAR Guy will keep vigil on any further updates. Stay tuned.