Dell Updates Cloud Philosophy: Open, Affordable, Capable

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Dell updated its cloud strategy at a luncheon in New York Thursday. While light on technical details, executives provided some insight into the company's cloud philosophy, which includes an open standards approach utilizing technology from other IT companies as well.

"The cloud fundamentally changes the cost of IT infrastructure. It makes it available for anybody, anyplace, at any time and that's the expectation of the Gen Y world," said Steve Schuckenbrock, Dell's president of Large Enterprise. "But that's putting new pressures on how IT organizations deal with [change]. You're seeing some [IT vendors] race to their proprietary approaches to control change. Some of my competitors have vertically integrated stacks and say, 'You have to buy my server, and my storage, and my network.' One even says, 'You have to buy my cables.'

The proprietary pendulum rarely swings in one direction for too long, Schuckenbrock said.

"It always loops back to open, and Dell continues to embrace open," he said. "Interoperability between layers is preserved. It's in the best interest of the customer and it ensures innovation in all areas."

From a bigger perspective, Dell believes the IT industry is entering a new virtual era, which separates itself from previous mainframe, distributed computing, client/server and Internet eras, Schuckenbrock said.

"It stems from the reality of the perfect storm between technology capability and economic need. Look at globalization, the competitive nature of business around the world, the economic reality of the current situation, I think I've never seen more stress on traditional IT budgets than today," he said.

Interoperability is one of three main principles behind Dell's cloud philosophy, Shuckenbrock said. The others are capability and affordability, he said.

"If you're going to be open, you have to be competitive. You'll see us add new capabilities. We've bought eight or nine companies in the last year and a half. Some of those companies are so small you may have never heard of [them], but they bring unbelievable capability to the virtual story, like Scalent, which allows you to manage utilization to workloads," Schuckenbrock said.

Around affordability, it's important to keep in mind not just the price of products, but the total cost of ownership for customers, he said. About half of a company's data center costs today are for labor.

"You have to build solutions that attack all those components. I'll give you Scalent as an example. Because it allows you to provision and maintain, as a developer you don't need to go to a server silo, and a separate silo associated for networks and another for storage. I can simply provision all those things from one pane of glass. What used to take 15 or 16 weeks now takes 15 to 16 minutes," Schuckenbrock said. "It collapses the cost structures of data centers."


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