Despite sluggish storage sales, Dell Technologies reported $21.9 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter fiscal 2018, up 9 percent from a year ago.
Storage revenue for the quarter, however, was down 11 percent. Still, on an earnings call with investors, Dell Technologies executives said storage demand is up for the first time since Dell merged with storage giant EMC, and they expect to see this segment grow over the next fiscal year.
Jeff Clarke, vice chairman of products and operations at Dell Technologies, called storage orders in Q4 “encouraging,” citing strong growth in the company’s hyperconverged infrastructure business, which he said saw triple-digit demand growth during the quarter. Additionally demand for Dell EMC’s all-flash offerings exited fiscal 2018 at a nearly $5 billion run rate.
“That encourages us to where we think again we have expectations for a better year,” Clarke said, before adding: “At the end of the day I have to drive storage growth.”
Meanwhile, the company’s server and networking sales, also part of its Dell EMC segment, grew 27 percent year-over-year boosting the company’s overall profits, bringing in $4.6 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter. Server and networking revenue for the full year was $15.4 billion, and full-year storage revenue was $15.3 billion.
In fact, Dell EMC was the top server vendor in terms of revenue generated during the fourth quarter of last year, according to IHS Markit’s latest numbers.
As usual, VMware’s profitability was a bright point for Dell Technologies, which owns about 80 percent of the virtualization and cloud company. VMware revenue for the fourth quarter was $2.3 billion, up 20 percent, with operating income of $834 million, up 48 percent, and accounting for 35.8 percent of revenue.
But the big question on everyone’s mind — will Dell and VMware combine? — went unanswered as executives said they would not discuss the recent filing of a Securities and Exchange Commission notice that said it is considering a reverse merger with VMware as well as a public offering.
But considering VMware’s ongoing financial success while Dell EMC’s has largely disappointed since the merger, at least one analyst said a merger is looking more likely after this earnings report.
“Given that VMware contributes a significant portion of Dell’s consolidated FCFs [free cash flows], we believe that some form of transaction is more likely to occur than not,” wrote BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman in a research note. “We think Dell would like to fully consolidate and have access to VMware’s FCFs.”