Dell Plots Public Cloud Provider Push, Does It Have The Chops?

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Dell is mounting a major cloud computing offensive to take on Amazon and other public cloud providers with the launch of its own end-to-end public cloud computing play.

In a not-so-subtle tweet, Logan McLeod, Dell's cloud strategy director, vaulted Dell into the public cloud space and hinted that Dell is moving beyond its private cloud and server roots to become a full-on public cloud service provider.

"Dell as a public cloud end-to-end service provider? Yes. IaaS [and] PaaS. Coming soon. Dell DC near you," McLeod wrote from his Twitter feed about Dell throwing its hat into the public cloud ring. McLeod offered no additional information.

Dell would not clarify McLeod's tweet, but in a statement e-mailed to CRN the company said it "has already disclosed our plans to support Microsoft Azure to develop and deliver public and private cloud services to customers. We look forward to sharing more information at the appropriate time." Dell did not provide additional information.

Under Dell's partnership with Microsoft, Dell Services will implement the limited production release of the Windows Azure platform appliance to host public and private clouds for its customers and provide advisory services, application migration, and integration and implementation services. Dell will also work with Microsoft to develop a Windows Azure platform appliance for large enterprise, public and hosting customers to deploy in their own data centers, which will leverage infrastructure from Dell combined with the Windows Azure platform.

Dell's partnership with Microsoft, however, is not a full, end-to-end Dell public cloud solution complete with IaaS and PaaS as McLeod's tweet promises. Becoming a full-fledged public cloud and hosting provider with true Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service in addition to its current private cloud placement would be somewhat of a departure for Dell, which has largely played in private clouds, and solution providers and industry watchers wonder if the tech superpower can hack it in a market that, while young, is already fairly established by the likes of Amazon, HP, IBM, Rackspace and myriad others.

"On the surface, it just seems like a me-too kind of play," said Tony Safoian, CEO of North Hollywood cloud solution provider SADA Systems.

If Dell were to launch a full set of public cloud services and hosting offerings it would be under intense pressure to differentiate itself from the pack. And Safoian said he doesn't see any clear differentiators.

Safoian added a Dell public cloud service could be a move on Dell's part to recoup some of the services revenue that is slipping away as companies shift to the cloud.

"This is a play that could increase services revenue that the cloud is eating into," Safoian said. "It's sort of a me-too to stay relevant and, if successful, bring back some revenue they're losing to the cloud paradigm shift."

But Safoian said Dell is already at a major disadvantage; getting into the public cloud late in the game is a daunting task. Just ask some of Dell's competitors. "Even Microsoft is seeing how it'll be tough for them," he said.


Next: Dell Looking To Compete With HP, IBM In Cloud

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