Our View of Dell Computers

We used to recommend Dell Computers.
Firstly, you ought to know that we recently applied to become a Dell System Integrator and while we were successful in that step, getting a credit account with Dell was much more difficult. We probably wouldn't have minded if it hadn't taken them 6 weeks to get around to asking us for a copy of our Balance Sheet and P&L, neither of which we were prepared to give them given that they are also our competitors in the services space. We probably wouldn't have been so disappointed in them if they had returned any of our phone calls or had acknowledged any of our e-mails ... but they did neither of those things and so we began to mind ... a lot.

It wasn't until we tried to contact the manager of the manager of the person with who was supposed to be helping us that we actually got some response out of them. Apparently, if you get to talk to someone high enough up the corporate ladder, they can make sure that your call is actually returned.

Anyway, after this rather time-consuming and fruitless exercise, we sat down to discuss our experiences with Dell and discovered that they were letting us down in a number of different areas. Here's a more complete list:

  • It's hard to get to speak to some Dell people and we usually end up being diverted to voicemail;
  • Dell people don't always phone back when you leave a message on their voicemail;
  • Dell people don't always acknowledge or reply to e-mails;
  • Calls to most Dell support numbers end up on a low-quality VoIP connection;
  • Calls to Dell support numbers frequently stay in the IVR queue for more than 15 minutes before being answered;
  • Call Centre personnel on VoIP connections are sometimes difficult to understand. When they have unfamiliar accents they are sometimes even more difficult to understand. They certainly don't understand us well;
  • Call Centre personnel don't appear to understand that when an IT professional calls Dell, it's as a last resort, having already conclusively established that the fault is with the hardware;
  • Dell's website is user-unfriendly and system configuration is time-consuming and error-prone;
  • If Dell were going to send us marketing material for us to use with our clients, they hadn't managed to do it in the six weeks after we signed their documentation;
  • If Dell were going to send us instructions on how to reach their SI portal so that we didn't have to use their public web site, they didn't manage to do it in the six weeks after they told us about it.
  • Although we were a Dell client, they were unable to locate us in their client database unless we gave our client number. Apparently the "lookup by name" function didn't work.

Despite all that, we don't actually have anything against the Dell products. We simply don't like the way we've been treated.

So, we've decided that we prefer not to deal with Dell and we are communicating that preference to our clients.

Postscript 2013
A client recently purchased a Dell server after they thought the unit we had spec'd up for them was too expensive (they forgot about setup costs so the whole project ended up costing them more but that's another story). They had given our proposed specification to Dell and asked Dell to price it. We had specified 4 x 2 Tb SAS drives, intending to create a 4 Tb RAID 10 array which we would then partition into a 1 Tb primary and 3 Tb secondary partition.
The new server arrived with 4 x 2 Tb SAS hard drives pre-configured as a 5.5 Tb RAID 5 array. Who takes 4 drives and makes them into a RAID 5 array?? Not satisfied with that little bit of incompetence, they partitioned the array into a 200Gb primary partition and a 5.3Tb secondary partition. They made the primary partition less than 4% of the whole array!! Who installs SBS 2011 onto a 200 Gb partition?? And since it came with the operating pre-installed, we were stuck with it unless we wanted to wipe the system and start again, which would have been a good idea but the client was on a deadline and told us to go ahead as it was.
So, the client is stuck with a RAID 5 array which is demonstrably slower than the RAID 10 array we had intended AND they are stuck with a 200 Mb primary partition which means that we're going to have to monitor the disk usage closely all the time. The application log already fills up with warning messages from The SharePoint Health Analyzer saying we're low on disk space and it's only been running for 3 months. It's just stupid.
How dumb do you have to be to screw up a simple server that badly? Dell Dumb.
Just another reason why we don't recommend Dell.