Dell’s cloud strategy hasn’t changed. It’s just being implemented now.
That’s according to Dell cloud executive Barton George, who spoke with VentureBeat today to put yesterday’s announcements about reselling public cloud services into perspective.
Asked how things have changed since the company stepped back from plans to offer a public cloud based on the open-source OpenStack software system, George said things haven’t changed very much. The big story is about Dell driving toward a management role for multiple public, private, and hybrid clouds.
“I would say it’s the same story, and we’re fine-tuning,” said George, the director of cloud developer programs at Dell Services and previously the company’s cloud evangelist.
More partnerships with public clouds could be coming. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple more additions,” he said. At least for now, though, the largest public cloud today, Amazon Web Services, isn’t something Dell resells.
And at the same time, there are other characters in Dell’s cloud strategy story, namely software and hardware.
Dell continues to sell custom hardware to “the Internet superstars,” George said, including Microsoft’s Windows Azure public cloud. “Some of the real big players in China” are customers, and Facebook “used to be” a customer of the business unit, which at one point was called the Data Center Solutions group, George said.
And Dell’s hardware business will continue to grow, George said. But “on a percent basis, software is going to grow a lot more,” he said.
The Dell Cloud Manager is a key piece in this attempt to manage deployments on multiple clouds. That product resulted from Dell’s Enstratius acquisition.
But Dell is talking about bringing together multiple software services it already offers. So the Dell Cloud Manager could be married with the Dell’s Boomi application-integration software, which resulted from a 2010 acquisition.
Then Dell could integrate those two tools with its Active System Manager infrastructure-management software, George said. “The real one plus one equals three happens when you start integrating these things,” he said.
As Dell introduces new products and acts on its new partnerships, it could be tricky to gauge how it’s doing and what it’s planning now that the company is off the public markets. That’s because the company won’t be rolling out regular numbers to shareholders. But George doubts the deal will strongly affect company cloud strategy, except that it can plan with a longer-term perspective and not simply try to please shareholders who want consistent quarterly growth.
And that could lead to innovation across the company.
“If all the justification around going private is true, essentially: Wall Street wouldn’t “let” Dell innovate or come up with new products, then with the yoke of Wall Street off their backs, Dell can now just go crazy coming up with cloud products,” Michael Coté, an analyst covering infrastructure software at 451 Research, wrote in an email to VentureBeat. “Hopefully, they’ll shift the cash into engineering, product, marketing, and sales and do it. That’s always the issue to watch with Dell: funding and follow-through.” So there you go — Dell’s cloud story is worth following.