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Just what is Dell's cloud strategy?

Brandon Butler | Sept. 14, 2012
Dell's agreement to offer a public cloud hosted by Nirvanix leaves open the question of the company's long-term strategy.

But Reichman, of Forrester, wonders if there could be a market for Dell to compete on the IaaS layer in the cloud.

"The cloud has to live in a data center somewhere," he says. "If Dell is just going to be an arms dealer reselling services from others, they're missing an opportunity while Amazon will just continue to grow by leaps and bounds." Plus, he adds the current mish-mash platform Dell has put together does not seem ideal for customers. Renting servers from Dell and having your object storage hosted by Nirvanix is not as cohesive as going to Amazon Web Services and having your Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) linked automatically with Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Simple Storage Service (S3), which are all hosted in the same data center, he says.

Some have expected bigger moves from Dell based on its string of acquisitions during the past few years. Two years ago Dell bought Boomi, a software company that helps ease cloud migrations, while this year alone the company bought Wyse, SonicWall and Quest, the latter of which for $2.4 billion. Meanwhile, some of the company's other moves in the cloud have been postponed or abandoned. Last year, for example, the company said it would offer an online analytics service, but that has been delayed until early next year, a company spokesperson told the IDG News Service this summer. The company announced plans for a platform as a service (PaaS), but the spokesperson said there is no longer an expected delivery date for that offering now.

Nirvanix, meanwhile, is quietly growing in the public cloud storage market. The company operates 10 data centers around the world and has Comcast, Fox and NBC/Universal as customers. IBM resells Nirvanix public cloud offerings, too, after the companies inked a five-year agreement with IBM Global Services last year. Nirvanix Vice President of Marketing Steve Zivanic says white labeling Nirvanix cloud storage is a natural fit for IBM and Dell, even though they both are working on OpenStack, which has its own storage option that Rackspace has leveraged to build its cloud service from. But Zivanic says OpenStack is not proven at petabyte-scale deployments. "It's not ready for prime-time," he says, compared to Nirvanix's install base.



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