Cloud-Optimized Infrastructure and New Services on the Horizon for Dell

Over the past three years, Dell has gained experience in the Cloud through its Data Center solutions and  group-designed customized offerings for cloud and hyperscaled IT environments. The company is now putting that experience to use, releasing several new hardware, software and service offerings optimized for cloud computing environments. Dell officials launched the new offerings—which include a new partner program, new servers optimized for cloud computing and new services designed to help business migrate to the cloud—at a San Francisco event on March 24.

Based on work the Dell Data Center Solutions group has completed over the past three years, the new offerings were outlined by Valeria Knafo, senior manager of business development and business marketing for the DCS unit. According to Knafo, DCS has built customized computing infrastructures for large cloud service providers and hyperscale data centers and is now trying to make their solutions available to enterprises. Said Knafo, “We’ve taken that experience and brought it to a new set of users.”

Dell officials revealed that they have been working with Microsoft on its Windows Azure cloud platform and that the software giant will work with Dell to create joint cloud-based solutions. Dell and Microsoft will continue to collaborate around Windows Azure (including offering services) and Microsoft will continue buying Dell hardware for its Azure platform as well. Turnkey cloud solutions—including pre-tested and pre-assembled hardware, software and services packages that businesses can use to deploy and run their cloud infrastructures quickly—are among the new offerings.

A cloud solution for Web applications will be the first Platform-as-a-Service made available. The offering will combine Dell servers and services with Web application software from Joyent and will come with challenges, caution Dell officials, like unpredictable traffic and the migrating of the apps from development to production. Dell is also offering a new Cloud Partner Program. According to officials, it will broaden options for customers seeking to move into private or public clouds. Dell announced three new software companies as partners as well: Aster Data, Greenplum and Canonical.

Also on the horizon for Dell is its PowerEdge C-series servers, which are designed to be energy efficient and offer features that are vital to hyperscaled environments—HPC (high-performance computing), social networking, gaming, cloud computing, Web 2.0 functions—like memory capacity and high performance. The C1100 (designed for clustered computing environments), the C2100 (for data analytics, cloud computing and cloud storage) and the C6100 (a four-node cloud and cluster system which offers a shared infrastructure) are the three servers that make up the family.

In unveiling the PowerEdge C-Series, Dell is partaking in the increasing industry trend of offering new systems optimized for cloud computing. For example, on March 17 Fujitsu unveiled the Primergy CX1000, a rack server created to offer the high performance environments need when lowering costs and power consumption. The Primergy CX1000 can also save on data center space through a design which pushes hot air from the system through the top of the enclosure as opposed to the back.

Last, but certainly not least, are Dell’s Integrated Solution Services. They offer complete cloud lifecycle management and include workshops to assess a company’s readiness to move to the cloud. Knafo said that the services are a combination of what Dell gained with the acquisition of Perot Systems and what it had already. “There’s a great interest in the cloud, and a lot of questions on how to get to the cloud. They want a path and a roadmap identifying what the cloud can bring,” said Knafo.

Mike Wilmington, a planner and strategist for Dell’s DCS group, claimed the services will decrease confusion many enterprises may have about the cloud. Said Wilmington, “Clouds are what the customer wants them to be,” meaning that while cloud computing may offer essentially the same benefits to all enterprises (cost reductions, flexibility, improved management and greater energy efficiency) it will look different for every enterprise. For more information please visit Nubifer.com.

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