Dell and Microsoft Partner Up with the Windows Azure Platform Appliance

Dell and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership in which Dell will adopt the Windows Azure platform appliance as part of its Dell Services Cloud to develop and deliver next-generation cloud services at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference on July 12. With the Windows Azure platform, Dell will be able to deliver private and public cloud services for its enterprise, public, small and medium-sized business customers. Additionally, Dell will develop a Dell-powered Windows Azure platform appliance for enterprise organizations to run in their data-centers.

So what does this mean exactly? By implementing the limited production release of the Windows Azure platform appliance to host public and private clouds for its customers, Dell will leverage its vertical industry expertise in offering solutions for the speedy delivery of flexible application hosting and IT operations. In addition, Dell Services will produce application migration, advisory migration and integration and implementation services.

Microsoft and Dell will work together to develop a Windows Azure platform appliance for large enterprise, public and hosting customers to deploy to their own data centers. The resulting appliance will leverage infrastructure from Dell combined with the Windows Azure platform.

This partnership shows that both Dell and Microsoft recognize that more organizations can reap the benefits of the flexibility and efficiency of the Windows Azure platform. Both companies understand that cloud computing allows IT to increase responsiveness to business needs and also delivers significant efficiencies in infrastructure costs. The result will be an appliance to power a Dell Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Cloud.

The announcement with Dell occurred on the same day that Microsoft announced the limited production release of the Windows Azure platform appliance, a turnkey cloud platform for large service providers and enterprises to run in their own data centers. Initial partners (like Dell) and customers using the appliance in their data centers will have the scale-out application platform and data center efficiency of Windows Azure and SQL Azure that Microsoft currently provides.

Since the launch of the Windows Azure platform, Dell Data Center Solutions (DCS) has been working with Microsoft to built out and power the platform. Dell will use the insight gained as a primary infrastructure partner for the Windows Azure platform to make certain that the Dell-powered Windows Azure platform appliance is optimized for power and space to save ongoing operating costs and performance of large-scale cloud services.

A top provider of cloud computing infrastructure, Dell’s client roster boasts 20 of the 25 most heavily-trafficked Internet sites and four of the top global search engines. The company has been custom-designing infrastructure solutions for the top global cloud service providers and hyperscale data center operations for the past three years and has developed an expertise about the specific needs of organizations in hosting, HPC, Web 2.0, gaming, energy, social networking, energy, SaaS, plus public and private cloud builders in that time.

Speaking about the partnership with Microsoft, president of Dell Services Peter Altabef said, “Organizations are looking for innovative ways to use IT to increase their responsiveness to business needs and drive greater efficiency. With the Microsoft partnership and the Windows Azure platform appliance, Dell is expanding its cloud services capabilities to help customers reduce their total costs and increase their ability to succeed. The addition of the Dell-powered Windows Azure platform appliance marks an important expansion of Dell’s leadership as a top provider of cloud computing infrastructure.”

Dell Services delivers vertically-focused cloud solutions with the combined experience of Dell and Perot Systems. Currently, Dell Services delivers managed and Software-as-a-Service support to over 10,000 customers across the globe. Additionally, Dell boasts a comprehensive suite of services designed to help customers leverage public and private cloud models. With the new Dell PaaS powered by the Windows Azure platform appliance, Dell will be able to offer customers an expanded suite of services including transformational services to help organizations move applications into the cloud and cloud-based hosting.

Summarizing the goal of the partnership with Dell, Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft Server and Tools said at the Microsoft Windows Partner Conference on July 12, “Microsoft and Dell have been building, implementing and operating massive cloud operations for years. Now we are extending our longstanding partnership to help usher in the new era of cloud computing, by giving customers and partners the ability to deploy Windows Azure platform in their datacenters.”

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