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AUSTIN, Texas — While some in the IT industry may still think of Dell as a low-cost PC maker, CEO Michael Dell remains on a mission to change those perceptions. In a free-flowing conversation the day before his company’s annual investor and financial investor conference here, Dell on June 28 held forth on a numbers of subjects, including cloud computing and data management, and how his namesake company plans to compete.

Since his return as CEO a number of years ago, Michael Dell has fought to change his company. When he first returned to the helm, Dell focused on PC design and other smaller issues, such as offering more technology to small businesses. Since then, Dell has been pushing his company not only as an IT innovator, but also as the type of technology provider that can compete against the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle when it comes to offering a wide range of services.

One area that Dell has focused heavily on in just the past year is cloud computing. However, Dell sees the company not only growing as a vendor that offers cloud technology, but also as a business that can offer a complete solution for the complex problems that IT managers face.

“We’re focusing a lot on data integration,” Dell said during a conversation with analysts here. “You have these very complex ideas of running a cloud application with a legacy application or running two cloud applications together. How do you handle the integration of those types of applications?”

For Dell, the idea of storage is to move away from the traditional model and into new areas where companies like his actually manage the data itself. This is part of the reason the company has invested heavily in storage acquisitions such as EqualLogic and more recently Compellent. During other meetings, Dell executives spoke about the concept of “fluid data,” where stored information moves seamlessly through different platforms on different systems and even from physical to virtual environments.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Michael Dell Talks Data Management, Cloud Before Investor Conference