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Microsoft and Dell today jointly announced the launch of Cloud Platform System Standard, a new package of Microsoft cloud software that’s designed to be deployed on purpose-built Dell hardware for companies’ on-premises data centers.

The announcement comes about a year after the two companies introduced the Cloud Platform System Premium software powered by Dell infrastructure. Now Dell and Microsoft have a second cloud-in-a-box offering, this time at a smaller scale.

The new Cloud Platform System Standard bundle includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Azure Pack, as well as the Dell Cloud Manager software. The Dell hardware it runs on includes PowerEdge servers capable of running as many as 400 virtual machines and a pair of top-of-rack switches. The entire system will cost as little as $9,000 for six months under a new Dell Cloud FlexPay financing program. After the first six months, companies can buy the infrastructure outright or return it.

Separately, Dell will begin to resell Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility Suite services.

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The deeper partnership is really about finding new and interesting ways to sell Dell server hardware as the public cloud market heats up, which Microsoft regularly emphasizing that it ties in with on-premises environments to a greater degree than Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. IBM has been shifting its focus away from server hardware and toward public cloud, while Dell has gone in a very different direction.

Dell has even gone so far as to make a huge bet on enterprise hardware and private cloud software by buying EMC for a staggering $67 billion.

Perhaps the product will give Dell a bit of a lead over other hardware vendors. “I believe Dell could have a six-month advantage with Microsoft’s Cloud Platform System,” analyst Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategies, told VentureBeat in an email.

While this deal shows Dell cozying up further with Microsoft, Dell doesn’t want to be exclusive to Microsoft. EMC’s VMware has cloud services, which are becoming part of Virtustream, which in turn will show up on VMware’s earnings statements. Dell wants to be heterogenous, open, and flexible, Dell’s Glenn Keels said in a press briefing on the news.

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