Dell Partners To Join Elite Cloud-Builder Club

Dell is stepping into cloud provision of hardware and software services with partners VMware and Salesforce

Dell made two major cloud-related announcements at VMware’s VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas and at Salesforce’s Dreamforce in San Francisco as it moves into cloud systems provision.

Stepping Into Cloud Infrastructure At VMworld

At VMworld, the company revealed that it will launch its first public cloud offering later this year as part of its partnership with VMware. Dell will host VMware’s new vCloud public cloud systems in Dell data centres – one of which is already online in Plano, Texas, and the other under construction in the Pacific Northwest. More data centres are being planned.

“This partnership also will build private clouds for customers,” Mark Bilger, vice president and CTO of Dell Services, told eWEEK. “By extension between the two, Dell Services will be providing hyper-cloud solutions between the private cloud data centres and Dell’s public cloud offering.”

So Dell and VMware are connecting a lot of dots: customers to the cloud, data centres to data centres, and data centres to outside public cloud services. There is no question that this is a full cloud service offering many options for customers to consider. This will be a multi-tenant environment for running virtual systems. It provides access to vCPUs, memory, storage networks, IP addresses, firewalls and catalogue capabilities.

Bilger said Dell is one of the first providers authorised to provide VMware vCloud Datacentre Services for enterprise-class, secure, public, private and hybrid clouds. The services are aimed primarily at enterprises, hosting and outsourcing firms, system integrators and service providers.

SaaS Move At Dreamforce

At Salesforce’s Dreamforce event, Dell and Salesforce announced they are partnering to deliver a set of software as a service (SaaS) applications under the brand name Dell Cloud Business Applications, starting with a CRM application that became available during the conference.

Dell is using its cloud integrator, Boomi, to introduce cloud applications (such as the new CRM) as painlessly as possible into customers’ existing on-premises or cloud systems so they can continue to use their legacy IT for as long as they choose.

Bilger said the cloud applications will use business-grade single sign-on and security.

“In fact, one of the highlights of these announcements is that Dell is adding to VMware its SecureWorks managed security services and security ware from Trend Micro as part of the base infrastructure as a service offering,” Bilger said. “SecureWorks is a very sophisticated managed service – it’s not an upsell, not an additional feature; it’s part of our VMware vCloud offering.”

Dell and Salesforce’s Sales Cloud will also provide a menu of back-office applications, such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Dynamics GP. Functions such as automation of cash to a collections process and cross-application reporting are also on the menu.

Cloud Building For The Future

Dell and VMware have plenty of other plans for the new cloud environment, Bilger said.

“In 2012, it’s our intention to offer Microsoft Azure and open-source public cloud offerings,” Bilger said. “We also intend to migrate some of our other Dell software packages into this cloud, such as MessageOne [a broadcast messaging service used in emergency situations, acquired in 2008]. In the health care space, we have a product called InsightOne, which is a medical imagining solution that we will be migrating over to the Dell Cloud in the next 12 or 18 months.”

Dell’s Cloud integrated CRM solution is available in the US. Package pricing including and Dell Boomi integration starts at $565 per month. Pricing for Dell implementation services packages start at $5,000. Dell’s Cloud Integrated Analytics service will be available in the first half of 2012. These are the first in a series of public and hybrid cloud announcements to come out over the next several quarters, Bilger said.