Dell Dumps OpenStack In Favour Of Partner Programme


Dell is to replace its in-house, OpenStack-based public cloud approach with an initiative based on third-party technology

Dell is changing its strategy regarding public clouds, opting for a partner programme rather than continuing efforts around its OpenStack cloud initiative that was based on VMware technology.

Dell officials on 20 May announced the company’s Cloud Partner Programme, with the initial partners in North America being Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeroLag.

Wider range of options

In the programme, Dell will be the single-source supplier of public cloud technologies, initially from the three partners. The multi-tenant public cloud that Dell currently runs will be discontinued in favour of offers through the Cloud Partner Programme.

Michael Dell with Streak TabletThe move not only will get Dell out of having to directly compete with the likes of Amazon Web Services, but company officials said it also will give its customers a wider range of options in terms of technology, vendors and pricing.

Dell can offer a central point for integration and control, they said.

“Many Dell customers plan to expand their use of public cloud, but in order to truly reap the benefits, they want a choice of providers, flexibility and interoperability across platforms and models, the ability to compare cloud economics and workload performance, and a cohesive way to manage all of it,” Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president of Dell Cloud, said in a statement. “The partner approach offers increased value to Dell’s customers, channel partners and shareholders, as part of our comprehensive cloud strategy to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions.”

Dell officials for the past couple of years have talked about launching an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering based on the OpenStack open-source cloud computing platform.

VMware partnership

In 2011, Dell announced a public cloud partnership with VMware, where Dell would host VMware’s vCloud platform in Dell data centres.

Now those efforts are being replaced by the partner programme, where customers will get a range of technology choices that best suit their needs, the officials said. A key to the programme will be the multi-cloud management platform that Dell inherited earlier this month when it bought Enstratius.

The technology enables organisations to manage the cloud platforms from a range of public and cloud providers – including Dell – and in single- and multi-cloud environments. According to Dell, the Entratius technology supports more than 20 public and private cloud platforms, including OpenStack, VMware, Rackspace and Microsoft’s Windows Azure.

Adding new clouds into the mix is relatively easy, according to Dell officials.

Dell announced the deal on 6 May, and comments from officials seemed to indicate a change in direction in the company’s cloud strategy.

Change in direction

“As enterprises increase their use of public, private and hybrid clouds, the need for controls, security, governance and automation becomes more critical,” Tom Kendra, vice president and general manager for systems management at Dell Software, said in a statement at the time. “Dell, together with Enstratius, is uniquely positioned to deliver differentiated, complete cloud-management solutions to enterprise customers, large and small, empowering them with the efficiency and flexibility in the allocation and use of resources.”

While Dell is backing away from its plans regarding OpenStack and public clouds, the company reportedly will continue supporting the open-source platform in its private cloud efforts.

Rachel Balik, a member of the Joyent content marketing team, wrote in a May 20 post on the Joyent blog that her company was a natural fit for Dell.

“Dell’s goal to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions is closely aligned with our own mission of providing the absolute best in high-performance cloud computing,” Balik wrote, noting that Joyent is a long-time Dell partner.

Joyent offers IaaS solutions for both private and public clouds. ZeroLag offers hosting services based on VMware technology, while ScaleMatrix sells cloud services through its TruCore Performance Cloud hosting platform.

Public cloud growth

Dell officials said businesses can immediately start buying products from these vendors through Dell, and that their Cloud Partner Programme will expand to include new vendors and new offerings beyond IaaS, depending on customer demand.

Dell’s public cloud partner programme comes as analysts predict organisations will continue to embrace the public cloud model.

In a report in February, Gartner analysts said they expect the worldwide public cloud services market will grow to $131 billion (£86bn) this year, an 18.5 percent increase over the $111 billion it generated in 2012.

“The continued growth of the cloud services market will result from the adoption of cloud services for production systems and workloads, in addition to the development and testing scenarios that have led as the most prominent use case for public cloud services to date,” Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

“Evidence of this growth is found in the increasing demand for cloud services from end-user organisations, met by an increased supply of cloud services from suppliers.”

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Originally published on eWeek.

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