CEO Michael Dell: Being a Private Company 'Just Delightful' - Page 3

There's also this whole rise of the public cloud and all kinds of varieties of that. And then challenges in how to I migrate, how do I transition, how do I secure, integrate and protect? So we're kind of helping our customers throughout that whole journey, whether it means, "Help me build out a Microsoft or VMware or OpenStack, Red Hat or Citrix private cloud," or, "Help me move to the private cloud. Help move some of my things to the public cloud and manage this somewhat difficult canvass of on-premises and off-premises things. How do I connect all this together? How do I secure it?"

This Cloud Partner Program is quite interesting. You look at the public cloud; it's a very crowded space. You've got tons of companies; every company is sort of rushing to that. We've been fortunate to sell equipment to, really, the vast majority of these guys. So a couple of clever guys from Dell said, "Why don't we partner with these guys and bring their services to our customers? That way we can sell the best of all public clouds to our customers and combine that with our private cloud, security, integration, consulting, migration services. The public cloud partners love it because we're bringing them new customers.

I sort of look at this and say, "Gee, you've got all the telcos running in, IBM, HP, Amazon, Rackspace, Google, AT&T, Verizon." … It's going to get pretty messy.

But there's no worry with you that maybe they're seeing something that you're not?

I think time will tell. What I can tell you is that it's not likely to be a space with 25 winners. I don't know what you're hearing about this, but clearly there's widespread adoption of some of the companies. Some of them have much more scale than others.

The other thing I'll say about this is that if you listen to some of the rhetoric, it takes on kind of a religious fervor—"We love this approach" or "We love that approach." What I see is that's a bit extreme. You have one customer that likes one type, one customer that likes another type, so we're helping our customers embrace the cloud that they want, in the way that they need. Maybe a public cloud, maybe a private cloud. We'll help them go to the cloud that's right for them.

Do your customers know what type of cloud they want or need? It's still a fairly new model.

It's a good question because it's also kind of confusing and ambiguous and cloudy, if you will. The pricing models are quite confusing, so helping the customers sort through all that is one of the roles that we play.

I'll give you an example. A customer came to us—the customer is in the oil-and-services business—they've got an innovative technology for drilling. They're growing super-fast. … They needed infrastructure very quickly in Europe, in Asia, in the U.S. We could just [say], "OK, here you go, we'll send it to you, we don't have time for that." [But] we said, "Well, how about, we'll use one of our cloud partners?" So we sold our equipment to our cloud partner, designed the solution, built the solution into the cloud partner, and we provided as a monthly service on—on Dell paper—to that company, who's now up and running all over the world. The partner's happy, the customer's happy, we're happy. Kaboom! There's your cloud. (laughs)