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Dell To Spend $1 Billion on Cloud Computing Initiative

Dell Inc. plans to invest $1 billion in cloud computing over its next fiscal year, the company announced on Thursday.

The initiative includes a two-year plan to build out datacenters to let customers subscribe to virtualized compute infrastructure and storage, as well as the provision of preconfigured turnkey cloud systems for enterprises and service providers.

The datacenters will be built around the world to provide access to private and public cloud resources, offering compute, storage and virtual desktops as a service. Dell will open 12 new solution centers this year and 10 more over the following 18 months that will enable customers to conduct proof-of-concept tests. Dell also has plans to offer a Platform as a Service cloud for application development and testing.

"Technology advances, delivery methods and the move to disruptive IT models like cloud are changing the fundamental way businesses operate," said Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Dell Services, in a statement. "With this transformational shift, businesses are gaining benefits in terms of speed to market and organizational and compute flexibility. Dell is mobilizing to help customers capture these benefits and, with today's announcement, is making the power of the cloud accessible to more organizations and users."

THINKstrategies analyst Jeff Kaplan said Dell's substantial investment underscores the company's focus on cloud computing, similar to many of its rivals. "It shows the level of determination they have to keep pace with IBM, HP and Oracle, for that matter," Kaplan said.

The company also is launching vStart, what it calls its next-generation datacenter. vStart is a prepackaged set of hardware that includes compute, storage and networking in a rack. Its software components initially are optimized for VMware hypervisors, including management plug-ins for vCenter.

vStart, available immediately in the United States, is designed to let customers purchase a complete infrastructure capable of running up to 200 virtual machines from a common management platform. The solution is based on Dell PowerEdge servers running Intel Xeon processors, Dell EqualLogic storage and Dell's PowerConnect switches. While the preassembled infrastructure supports VMware, the company will support other hypervisors in the coming quarters. 

In addition, Dell announced a three-year pact with Microsoft in which Dell will deliver private cloud solutions optimized for Hyper-V. Dell will deliver management solutions based on the Dell Virtual Integrated System, Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) and Microsoft System Center.

"These jointly engineered solutions will make virtualization more cost-effective and accessible, integrate management across the stack, and set you on the path to private cloud," Microsoft said in a blog post.

In addition to Microsoft and VMware, Dell has partnered with Citrix, CommVault and Symantec.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 Tim Wessels

Will $1B really be enough to build multiple cloud data centers? When it comes to building cloud data centers the sky is the limit. Microsoft is spending $1B each for each of the six cloud data centers they are building. Can Dell be saving a lot by building its own computers to fill their planned data centers?

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