Dell Offers Cloud-Optimized Infrastructure, Services

Dell is unveiling a number of new hardware, software and services offerings optimized for cloud computing environments. The cloud solutions come out the experience Dell has gained over the past three years with its Data Center Solutions group designed customized offerings for cloud and hyperscaled IT environments.

Dell is rolling out a host of new and enhanced hardware, software and services aimed at enterprises that are moving to a cloud computing model.

At an event in San Francisco March 24, Dell officials are launching the new offerings, which include new servers optimized for cloud computing, a new partner program and new services designed to help businesses migrate to the cloud.

The new offerings are based on work the Dell Data Center Solutions group has done over the past three years, Valerie Knafo, senior manager of business development and business marketing for the DCS unit, said in an interview before the San Francisco event.

Click here to see the seven deadliest security risks for cloud environments.

DCS has built customized computing infrastructures for large cloud service providers and hyperscale data centers, Knafo said. Now the company is looking to take what it's learned from those engagements and make these solutions available to enterprises.

"We've taken that experience and brought it to a new set of users," she said.

Microsoft will be a partner in this effort. Dell officials said they have worked closely with Microsoft on the software giant's Windows Azure cloud platform, and that Microsoft will work with Dell to develop joint cloud-based solutions. The two companies will continue to collaborate around Azure, including offering services. In addition, Microsoft will continue to buy Dell hardware for the Azure platform.

Included in the new offerings are turnkey cloud solutions, which include pre-tested and pre-assembled hardware, software and services packages that businesses can use to quickly deploy and run their cloud infrastructures.

First among these PAAS (platform as a service) solutions will be a cloud solution for Web applications, which come with their own sets of challenges, including unpredictable traffic, concerns about underprovisioning, and the migrating of the apps from development to production, according to Dell officials. The offering will combine Dell servers and services with Web application software from Joyent.

Dell also is offering a new Cloud Partner Program, which officials said will expand options for customers looking to move into private or public clouds. Dell also announced three new software companies as partners: Aster Data, Greenplum and Canonical.

In addition, Dell is unveiling its PowerEdge C-Series servers that are designed to be energy efficient and offer features-such as high performance and memory capacity-that are important to hyperscaled environments, including HPC (high-performance computing), social networking, gaming, Web 2.0 functions, and cloud computing.

There are three servers in the family: the C1100, aimed at clustered computing environments, the C2100 for data analytics, cloud computing and cloud storage, and the C6100, a four-node cloud and cluster system that offers a shared infrastructure.

The PowerEdge C-Series are part of a growing trend in the industry of offering new systems optimized for cloud computing. Most recently, Fujitsu on March 17 unveiled the Primergy CX1000, a rack server designed to offer the high performance such environments need while driving down power consumption and costs. Through a unique design that pushes the hot air from the system through the top of the enclosure rather than out the back, the Primergy CX1000 can also save on data center space.

Wrapping around all this are Dell's Integrated Solution Services, which offer complete cloud lifecycle management, Knafo said. The services-a combination of what Dell had on hand already and what it gained with the Perot Systems acquisition-include workshops to assess a company's readiness to move to the cloud to offerings around design, deployment, and maintenance.

"There's great interest in the cloud, and a lot of questions on how to get to the cloud," Knafo said. "They want a path and a roadmap identifying what the cloud can bring."

Mike Wilmington, a planner and strategist for Dell's DCS group, said the services will help clear up a lot of confusion enterprises may have over what the cloud is. Cloud computing offers many of the same benefits to everyone-from greater energy efficiency and cost reductions to flexibility and improved management-but it won't look the same to every business.

"Clouds are what the customer wants them to be," Wilmington said.