The future of business is in hybrid clouds, according to Dell executives. Now the company wants to make it more affordable for businesses to get there.
The giant tech vendor is unveiling a range of payment plans designed to make it easier for enterprises to plan and deploy their own private clouds, and begin to return many of the workloads and data currently housed in public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to the data center via those private clouds.
Dell is positioning its cloud strategy around the growing demand for hybrid clouds—where businesses house some applications in their private clouds while still taking advantage of public clouds for other workloads—and will grow its efforts by adding more capabilities to its portfolio this year, including simplifying cloud management and introducing greater support for private-to-public cloud bursting.
However, a key challenge businesses face when establishing private clouds is finding ways to pay for them, according to Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager for engineered solutions and cloud at Dell.
"The world is going to go to the hybrid cloud," Ganthier told eWEEK. "It's not a question of if, but when and how fast. … One of the major impediments is affordability and the ability to pay for exactly what they need. [Business executives] want to cost-effectively deploy the [private cloud] model."
Dell Financial Services this week is rolling out what officials are calling a range of Scale Ready Payment Solutions, offering businesses an array of payment options that they say will help accelerate the deployment of private clouds and hasten the transition to hybrid cloud environments.
The first is a pay-as-you-grow solution, in which customers can bring in all the equipment they'll need for their private cloud up front, and then scale their payments over years to match the pace of their growth. Through this program, they won't be hampered by high initial capital costs, but will still be able to deploy the technology they need to get their private clouds up and running.
"They have really low payments in their first year, and those will increase over time," Ganthier said.
Another option is one called provision-and-pay. This program offers a cyclical plan, where businesses can bring the technologies into their environments as needed, and the payments are deferred until the equipment is deployed.
"Customers can align payments as they deploy," he said. "This lets them quickly deploy their solutions."
The scale-on-demand option lets customers bring in the cloud equipment, then pay for the technologies that they bring online.
Businesses increasingly are eyeing hybrid clouds, Ganthier said. Making it easier and more affordable for them to deploy their private cloud equipment will help accelerate the move to hybrid clouds. In a recent poll of IT decision makers worldwide, nine in 10 respondents said they are pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, and 78 percent of them said they plan to return some applications from public clouds to their private clouds, a move that Dell officials call public cloud repatriation.
In addition, the survey found that IT decision makers are twice as likely to choose a hybrid solution that incorporates public and private clouds over singular infrastructure strategies. Enterprises initially chose to incorporate public clouds into their IT strategies as a way of saving money and gaining access to infrastructures that enable them to scale as needed, Ganthier said. However, they're finding now that private clouds can help them reduce their reliance on public cloud services—which can be expensive—particularly when it comes to core workloads.
Businesses are finding that public clouds still play a key role in such areas as test and development, and to help startups get off the ground, he said. However, it increasingly makes more sense to bring key applications and workloads into the private cloud. Dell pointed to a recent report by Forrester Research analysts that found that private clouds not only enable businesses to better support existing applications, but also give them the agility needed to innovate and the ability to reduce the "shadow IT" environment that arises when employees use public cloud services.
Private clouds also enable customers to get more out of their existing IT assets, which helps reduce the costs of provisioning virtual machines and run their applications. In addition, they help IT staffs support a larger IT footprint, and help them retain talented employees, the Forrester report found.