Amazon Rivals Collaborate: Dell, Microsoft Unveil Cloud Partner Ecosystems

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How do you compete with the world’s largest cloud provider, Amazon Web Services? Both Microsoft and Dell are building up ecosystems consisting of the biggest cloud contenders.

Dell made its intentions clear when it abandoned its public cloud plans, saying it was going to partner for public cloud rather than compete. That strategy has come into fruition today, as Dell announced cloud partnerships with Google, Microsoft, CenturyLink, Red Hat and Dropbox. These are all big names now under the same Dell ecosystem.

Microsoft separately announced a Cloud OS network that involves similar collaborations with 25 global partners.

Both giants are building these ecosystems in a bid to compete with Amazon Web Services, which continues to be the clear market share leader when it comes to public cloud. Microsoft and Dell are building scale quickly, while offering choices in a bid to grab a larger share of the growing cloud market.

Dell Bringing Together the Top Clouds

Dell’s partners cover the gamut of needs: Microsoft has its audience, as well as Google, which only recently went into wide release for its IaaS compute offering. Dropbox is perhaps the biggest cloud storage name in the consumer space, and CenturyLink Savvis has its appeal with enterprises and the federal space. By creating a diverse partner ecosystem, Dell has covered all the bases, from the very small business sharing files through Dropbox to the most complex enterprise (who very well might also be using Dropbox).

Dell customers benefit from access to partners’ cloud compute, storage and networking services. Dell provides expert guidance in helping assess, build, operate and run cloud environments with Dell Cloud Consulting and Application Services. Customers are given the ability to manage single or multiple public, private and hybrid clouds through one pane of glass with Dell Cloud Manager, which uses technology from Dell’s acquisition of Enstratius. Partners are provided direct support from a Dell salesperson to advise customers through the best purchasing, deployment and maintenance options to meet their unique needs, accounting for budget, workloads, current infrastructure, use cases, etc.

“Companies want to take the complexity out of deploying and maintaining cloud infrastructures so they can focus on running their business,” said Suku Krishnaraj, vice president and general manager of cloud at new partner CenturyLink’s Savvis organization. “Our partnership with Dell allows businesses to run the simplest workload to the most complex, demanding application on public cloud environments with ease and confidence to quickly and consistently achieve measurable business results.”

Going Global: Microsoft’s Cloud OS Network

Microsoft’s approach is slightly different to that taken by Dell. It’s providing the platform, whereas Dell is relying on other options in providing the public cloud piece in its cloud strategy. Microsoft has a rich ecosystem of service providers offering a variety of its services, and it isn’t so much in the business of uniting a bunch of large clouds but rather delivering options through those service providers.

The Cloud OS Network is a worldwide consortium of more than 25 cloud service providers delivering services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform: Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack.

By joining Microsoft in the Cloud OS Network, leading cloud service providers can develop new services, attract new customers and increase revenues. With the Microsoft Cloud Platform, service providers have access to all the capabilities and best practices of Windows Azure.

“CSC continues to expand our strategic partnership with Microsoft to increase value to our clients and bring next-gen solutions to market,” said Marc Silvester, vice president of Offerings Management at CSC. “CSC and Microsoft continue to partner on offerings that leverage the tremendous growth in apps, devices and data that are driven by the rise of cloud computing. As these technologies play an ever-increasing role in business, CSC and Microsoft are working together to drive more efficiency and value through Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision. CSC is proud to be part of Microsoft’s Cloud OS Network.”

“Together, the Cloud OS Network partners operate in more than 90 countries, serve over 3 million customers every day and manage over 2.4 million servers in more than 425 datacenters,” writes Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft.

These organizations support Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision of a consistent platform that spans customer data centers, Windows Azure and service provider clouds. Service providers in the Cloud OS Network offer Microsoft-validated, cloud-based infrastructure and application solutions designed to meet customer needs.

“This network of leading service providers will help our customers create datacenters without boundaries for apps, data and device management,” said Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft corporate vice president of Cloud & Enterprise Marketing. “That translates into greater diversity of solutions, more flexibility and lower operational costs for customers, allowing them to focus on their core business rather than managing datacenters.”

While Amazon has been dominating in the public cloud space, its biggest competitors collaborating, as well as the emergence of Google in the battle, might spell additional competition down the line.

About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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