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As Dell continues to grapple with slumping demand in its legacy business units, the company has cancelled plans to launch an OpenStack-based public cloud and has also canned its VMWare virtualisation and storage offerings already on the market.

Dell servers

Dell dumps public cloud strategy

Instead of offering its own infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the company will deliver IaaS through the Dell Cloud Partner Programme, an “ecosystem of partners” that will give Dell customers the option to choose between multiple public cloud providers. The company believes that this will give its customers freedom from being locked in to particular platforms or pricing models, and a central point of solutions integration and control.

“Many Dell customers plan to expand their use of public cloud, but in order to truly reap the benefits, they want a choice of providers, flexibility and interoperability across platforms and models, the ability to compare cloud economics and workload performance, and a cohesive way to manage all of it,” said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Dell Cloud. “The partner approach offers increased value to Dell’s customers, channel partners and shareholders, as part of our comprehensive cloud strategy to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions.”

This shift in strategy couples Dell’s recent announcement in the EMEA – following its acquisition of Enstratius a couple of weeks ago – to launch the Global Services Provider Programme, which will offer European customers greater choice of EMEA-based public clouds.

Using technology acquired from Enstratius, Dell will be front-ending these public clouds and act as a single source supplier for multiple platforms. Dell has so far announced three North American partners, Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeroLag, with more one the way. The company has yet to announce European partners.

The Enstratius cloud management platform already supports more than 20 different public clouds, which will give Dell an opportunity to offer a reasonably robust solution – perhaps much more quickly than if it were to move ahead with its own public cloud offering, a plan that was already delayed by one year before it was finally binned this week.

As competition heats up in the cloud space, many prime legacy businesses like Dell are keen for market share and are fighting to stay relevant as enterprise IT consumers increasingly move to the cloud. Dell’s latest offering promises something likely to prove attractive – the ability to easily shift workloads between cloud offerings as needed if their requirements change or if their current cloud provider isn’t up to scratch. But it’s still unclear as to what kind of integration Dell will actually deliver.

Nevertheless, while Dell will move forward post-haste with accumulating partners in the public cloud space and optimising its services to work with private, it will still have to give customers reasonably compelling reasons to sign on to their new service.

@BizCloud
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