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Dell Pushes Into the Cloud with $1 Billion Investment

Dell today said it plans to spend $1B in cloud technology over its next fiscal year. This inititive is part of a two-year plan to build out datacenters that will let customers subscribe to virtualized compute infrastructure and storage. Preconfigured turnkey cloud systems for enterprises and service providers is also in the works for the company.

The company said it will build the datacenters around the world to provide access to public and private cloud resources, offering compute, storage and virtual desktops as a service. Dell also indicated it will offer a Platform as a Service cloud for application development and testing.

"Technology advances, delivery methods and the move to disruptive IT models like cloud are changing the fundamental way businesses operate," said Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Dell Services, in a statement. "With this transformational shift, businesses are gaining benefits in terms of speed to market and organizational and compute flexibility. Dell is mobilizing to help customers capture these benefits and, with today's announcement, is making the power of the cloud accessible to more organizations and users."

THINKstrategies analyst Jeff Kaplan said Dell's substantial investment underscores its priority of focusing on cloud computing, like many of its rivals. "It shows the level of determination they have to keep pace with IBM, HP and Oracle, for that matter," Kaplan said.

Dell will open 12 new solution centers this year and 10 more over the following 18 months that will enable customers to conduct proof-of-concept tests.

The company also is launching what it calls its next-generation datacenter, called vStart, a prepackaged set of hardware that includes compute, storage and networking in a rack. Its software components initially are optimized for VMware hypervisors, including management plug-ins for vCenter.

Dell's vStart, available immediately in the United States, is designed to let customers purchase a complete infrastructure capable of running up to 200 virtual machines from a common management platform. The solution is based on Dell PowerEdge servers running Intel Xeon processors, Dell EqualLogic storage and Dell's PowerConnect switches. While the preassembled infrastructure supports VMware, the company will support other hypervisors in the coming quarters.

In addition, Dell announced a three-year pact with Microsoft in which Dell will deliver private cloud solutions optimized for Hyper-V. Dell will deliver management solutions based on the Dell Virtual Integrated System, Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) and Microsoft System Center.

"These jointly engineered solutions will make virtualization more cost-effective and accessible, integrate management across the stack, and set you on the path to private cloud," Microsoft said in a blog post.

In addition to Microsoft and VMware, Dell has partnered with Citrix, CommVault and Symantec.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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