Dell is looking to become a larger player in the highly competitive cloud-computing field, where such stalwarts as HP, Microsoft and Amazon already have strong footholds.
investing $1 billion in its current fiscal year in new data centers, solution
facilities and technologies designed to broaden its capabilities in such areas
as cloud computing, virtualization and converged infrastructure.
strategy, announced April 7, includes building 10 new data centers over the
next two years-which will be spread out around the world-including the United
States, Asia and Europe-that will be stocked with Dell equipment and help customers
adopt and deploy desktop-virtualization and cloud-computing environments,
either on their own premises or hosted by the OEM. Through the data center,
Dell eventually will offer cloud services based on Microsoft's Azure platform.
Dell officials plan to open 12 Global Solutions Centers this year, plus another
10 over the next 18 months, where customers will be able to learn about Dell
offerings and work with Dell experts to figure out which technologies work best
within their budgets.
As part of its
aggressive cloud-computing/virtualization push, Dell also is rolling products
and services designed to make it easier for businesses to adopt cloud-computing
models. Key among those is vStart, a pre-assembled hardware and software
package of Dell PowerEdge servers, EqualLogics storage and PowerConnect
switches that can be delivered as a single unit and easily deployed with
initial deployment services from Dell. Each vStart package will enable
businesses to immediately run 100 or 200 virtual machines. Eventually, Dell
will offer vStart packages that provide virtual-machine capabilities below 100
and above 200, according to Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Dell Services.
initially will support VMware virtualization technology, but over the next few
quarters will expand the number of hypervisors it will offer.
really now more interested in buying [virtual machines] than they are in buying
physical hardware that they have to put together," Praveen Asthana, vice
president of Dell's Enterprise Solutions and Strategy unit, said during a press
conference April 6. "Customers spend far too much time integrating and
trying to optimize software for deploying virtual machines."
announcements are part of a larger strategy to grow beyond its roots as a PC
and server maker and become more of a solutions provider, with an emphasis in
such areas as virtualization and cloud computing.
Dell officials have been aggressive in buying companies that enable it to grow
its capabilities rapidly, including several storage technology vendors and services firm Perot Systems.
moving into a highly competitive field. Dell's large OEM rivals, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, all are pushing converged
infrastructures, as well as data center and cloud services. In addition, as
Dell looks to become more active in cloud computing, it will run up against
public cloud giants like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Rackspace.
April 6 press conference, Schuckenbrock said that Dell's new data centers would
be primarily focused on hosting customers' data center infrastructures. Dell is
committed to bringing in the appropriate staffing, and he said that while
Dell's ambitions are large, the company has experience in cloud computing. He
pointed to the OEM's Data Center Solutions business as a proof point.
some of the things we've done with our DCS business, and you can expect to see
that kind of architecture with a highly scaled-out infrastructure," he said. "I
think we've proven our ability to do hyperscale data centers that support some
of the largest cloud capabilities in the world."
data centers will "largely be modular and oriented toward hosting cloud
capabilities, whether it's desktop as a service or private and public cloud
capabilities," Schuckenbrock said.
Along with the
data center and solution-center build-outs and the vStart offering, Dell
officials also announced a three-year partnership with Microsoft that is designed
to help businesses more quickly get up and running with virtualization and
cloud technologies. They'll be offering management solutions based on Dell's
Virtual Integrated System and Advanced Infrastructure Manager, and Microsoft's
System Center. The virtualization offerings will be based on Microsoft's
showed off a new email and fire archive solution, which includes a pre-configured
reference architecture, ongoing maintenance and support, and storage products
that offer high scalability and ease of use.
The OEM also
is expanding its desktop-virtualization capabilities, offering a portfolio that
includes pre-packaged services, and configured and tested hardware and software
for fast deployment. With its desktop-virtualization solutions, Dell also is
looking to accelerate the time it takes for businesses to implement a desktop-virtualization
solution, and to support any computing endpoint anywhere.
"We do a lot
of the pre-work for customers" in cloud and virtualized environments,