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Dell Commits to the Cloud

It means to build and provision 10 cloud centers in the US, EMEA and Asia over the next 24 months

Dell formally committed to the cloud game Thursday, pledging to spend a billion dollars by the end of January building up its cloud resources and delivering new so-called "Virtual Era" solutions and services.

Dell is actually pledging more than a billion dollars to the cause because it means to build and provision 10 cloud centers in the US, EMEA and Asia over the next 24 months. Dell's suggestion of a budget also doesn't include what it might spend on more M&A, the president of Dell Services Steve Schuckenbrock said.

The centers will be used mainly for its customers' private clouds although the things will also be capable of bursting into other people's public clouds. Besides offering Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Virtual Desktop-as-a-Service, Dell will also use the facilities for Compute-as-a-Service hosting of externally facing applications. It promised unlimited Storage-as-a-Service for production environments, off-premise backup and disaster recovery.

It said its modular, scale-out, cloud-optimized systems will support Microsoft Azure, VMware and OpenStack hypervisors but would provide nothing in the way of a schedule or locations, suggesting it might be based on demand and where it has other facilities. There will be three centers in the US and those outside the US will start at an expandable 100,000 square feet.

They are different from the 12 Global Solution Centers Dell intends to open this year, with 10 more planned over the next 18 months. Dell will staff these centers with experts to work with customers on proof-of-concept testing to make sure solutions work in the customers' environment. It seems to be thinking third-party software integration.

Playing a bit of catch-up to Cisco, HP and IBM, Dell is starting at the cloud's beginning with vStart, offering a totally pre-fabricated virtual infrastructure ready to run up to 100 or 200 virtual machines from a single management environment including Xeon-based Dell PowerEdge servers, EqualLogic storage, PowerConnect switches, deployment services, hypervisors and essential virtualization management extensions.

The infrastructure will be delivered pre-assembled to the customer's site directly from Dell's factory as a single unit, racked and cabled, to help them build out the infrastructure required to host virtual machines. Dell vStart currently supports VMware's freebie ESX 4.1 hypervisor with support for others planned in the coming quarters. It will cost $99.000 for 100 VMs and $169,000 for 200. Largest and smaller configurations will be available at some point.

vStart is available now in the US, with expected availability in Europe in July beginning with the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. The channel will get the stuff eventually and Dell will also be happy to host the things.

Dell's cuddling closer to its old friend, Microsoft, in this initiative.

They've got a three-year strategic deal for deploying and managing virtualization and private cloud technologies.

Management solutions will be based on Dell's Virtual Integrated System, Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager and Microsoft System Center and are supposed to deliver improved integration across the physical, virtual and application layers.

Virtualization solutions will be based on Microsoft's Hyper-V. Future jointly engineered solutions based on Dell hardware and virtualization management technologies and Microsoft's hypervisor and systems management technologies are supposed to simplify virtualization management, reduce costs and remove barriers to cloud adoption.

Dell offers a single management point for physical and virtual resources that it says speeds the provisioning of heterogeneous hardware in a mixed environment.

Dell and Microsoft virtualization is currently available worldwide.

Since Dell has put a buck or two into storage, it's going to try to make the most of it and offer pre-configured, but customizable, reference architectures for a new Email and File Archive solution. It's promising massive scalability and ease of use to keep up with rapid data growth. Customers can still use Symantec or CommVault backup and archiving and either a cloud or on-premise consumption model.

The solution's available now in the US, with availability in UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands expected in Q2. Pricing will be based on the number of mailboxes and their capacity.

Dell's also going to try to push its users toward desktop virtualization, where it says customers are stumbling around beset by indecision and not knowing where to start.

It's got prepackaged services with configured and tested hardware and software to help organizations with desktop virtualization. It says its DDVS addresses the design and implementation complexities associated with desktop virtualization and accelerates it, supporting virtually any end-user computing device, anytime, anywhere in a cost-effective, secure and predictable way.

Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions, deliverable on-premise or as a service from its new data centers, is available now in the US with expected availability in other countries later this year.

Visit Dell's Cloud Solutions.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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