Dell's Cloud Strategy: Supply Tech To The Channel And Let Partners Build Clouds

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Dell wants to be a major player in the cloud industry, just as long as it doesn't involve building its own public cloud.

That's the essence of Dell's cloud strategy since it said in late May that it is discontinuing its own multi-tenant public cloud IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) offering in favor of working with partners to develop private, public, and hybrid clouds.

It's a strategy that Dell's channel partners, particularly those who spent time with Dell at this year's Dell Enterprise Forum, applauded as one more channel-friendly than one in which the vendor offered its own public cloud.

[Related: Fun And Business: 15 Scenes From Dell Enterprise Forum]

Dell is leveraging its resources to help partners develop private clouds, said Joel Carlson, an account manager at Syntax, a St. Paul-based Dell partner.

"If it were focused on public clouds, I see concerns about what it means to long-term relationships with customers if we were to send them to the Dell cloud," Carlson said.

Instead, Carlson said, Dell is now making it a point to help its channel partners develop their own cloud strategies.

"I appreciate what Dell is saying, and how it is helping us build our own clouds," he said. "Dell wants to be our arms supplier."

Instead of developing its own public cloud, Dell is choosing to work with other public cloud providers to help its partners take advantage of cloud services. The initial three public cloud providers named by Dell include San Francisco-based Joyent, San Diego-based ScaleMatrix, and Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based ZeroLag.

Most public cloud providers are among Dell's biggest customers, Marias Haas, president of enterprise solutions, told CRN.

"We look at how we can work with them versus compete with them like our competitors do," Haas said. "We are now looking at how to accelerate deployments of private clouds with the help of partners, or how customers can do it by themselves."

Dell has great relationships with public cloud providers, so that if a customer needs to burst to a public cloud from their private cloud, Dell will have a solution, Haas said. "We want to make a seamless transition from private to hybrid to public clouds."

NEXT: Dell Cloud Needs Partners For Customer Choice

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