Dell's cloud strategy is definitely a work in progress, said one solution who requested anonymity.
When Dell was still early in the process of bringing solution providers to the cloud, Dell asked that particular partner to take on the SLA requested by customers, which in essence shifted the responsibility of any issues related to Dell's cloud offering to the partner. The partner refused.
"When we're dealing direct as a cloud provider, that is not an issue," the partner said.
While Dell no longer provides its own public cloud service to customers, the company still has a strong value-add for partners, said Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and Dell partner.
As an example, Winslow cited Dell SecureWorks, the company's platform for managed, monitored, and self-service security services. "Dell has the best managed security technology in the business," he said. "And that's a biggie."
Also, Winslow said, Dell is one of the few vendors who can provide nearly all of the components needed to build private clouds.
Just as important, Dell has expertise to back up solution providers' cloud strategies. "We talk to other cloud providers," he said. "But we work with our local Dell team. The more we work with them, the better our value to Dell."
The fact that Dell exited the public cloud market to focus more on partnering with others is important both for Dell and for the channel, Syntax's Carlson said.
For instance, he said, the increasing use of public clouds to store data, which are a business' crown jewels, is not in a customer's best interest from either a cost perspective or a safety perspective. And, he said, it is not in the partner's best interest to send customers' data to a public cloud.
"The private cloud is better for customers from the reseller standpoint," he said. "I like Dell's strategy so far. As a reseller, we resell things. But if everything goes to a public cloud, I might as well go fishing. If you want me to resell your cloud, and now you don't need me anymore, what's in it for me?"
Furthermore, Carlson said, public clouds have all suffered from downtime. "If I am the reseller who recommended a public cloud, it's egg on my face," he said. "It maybe is not my responsibility, but I'm the guy who has to deal with the customer."