After years of custom cloud building, Dell last week unveiled a suite of server and storage products based on its designs for cloud computing clients. The announcement came as research from IDC indicated a rebound in the $13 billion server market in the fourth quarter of 2008. Market share for Dell rose to 11.5% in the fourth quarter, maintaining 3rd place and topping a busy year of product news, partnerships and acquisitions. CEO Michael Dell also said last week that they expect its China sales to be about US$5 billion this year. Here's a closer look at Dell's announcements on cloud computing, storage and key partnerships.
The Dell Cloud
On the same day of storage announcement, Dell announced new solutions,systems and services designed to help more customers build efficient and affordable cloud computing and hyperscale data center installations. To address cloud computing, Dell announced new integrated cloud infrastructure solutions, a new cloud partner program, new PowerEdge C-series servers and new Dell Cloud Services.
Dell's Data Center Solutions Group (DCS) has been involved with several customized computing solutions for large customers, most notably a double-decker container product. Now the product engineering done by DCS for large customers is being applied as product offerings, as Roy Guillen, general manager of Dell's Data Center Solutions division noted "we are excited to take these learnings to a broad audience to help others operate scaled-out environments in a more agile and efficient manner.”
The new Dell PowerEdge C Servers are feature and power optimized for customers in the HPC, Web 2.0, gaming, social networking, energy, SaaS providers and public and private cloud builders. The C series servers include the PowerEdge C1100, C2100 and C6100. They will be available immediately in select countries globally.
Data Management Solutions
Dell also outlined a broad range of data management solutions to help customers facing unprecedented challenges of storing and managing data. Citing several studies to back up the data deluge, Dell highlights the applications for creating and consuming digital content, particularly increases in unstructured data such as files, images and movies. Dell's object storage solution addresses the attachment of metadata to a file, which then stores the object in an enormous, flat address space. The company announced plans to deliver the Dell DX Object Storage Solution, designed to access, store and distribute billions of files or other digital content, from archiving to the cloud.
Dell is also building an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) to develop vertical solutions around its object platform. Vendors being courted include EMC, Iron Mountain, CommVault, OpenText and others. Dell also expanded its relationship with EMC by announcing new deduplication offerings. New Dell|EMC DD Series include three mature, easy to use backup-to-disk solutions with integrated deduplication series, and are based on EMC's Data Domain series.
Additional enhancements were also announced for Dell PowerVault and Unified Storage product offerings. Dell vice president of Storage Systems & Executive Strategies Richard Villars highlighted the need for a holistic apporach to data management and noted "Dell is offering a wide range of solutions from primary storage to archives to the cloud that can help implement and manage efficient yet scalable storage environments.”
The Dell/Joyent Partnership
As reported by GigaOm, one of the big cloud partnership deals was between Dell and Joyent. Joyent will be providing their cloud platform software to Dell, which will in turn use that software to offer a private cloud solution delivered on Dell machines. The deal with Joyent also includes Perot Systems, the services branch of Dell. Joyent CEO David Young told Om Malik "they aren't building on Joyent as a hosted platform, but rather
allowing anyone to build out a cloud like Joyent.com, using our software."
Pulling out of China?
Following Google, and now possibly GoDaddy.com out of China, Dell hinted that it may be considering switching its operations from China to India. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh met with Michael Dell and then told the Hindustan Times "this morning I met the chairman of Dell Corporation. He informed me that they are buying equipment and parts worth $25 billion from China. They would like to shift to safer environment with a climate conducive to enterprise with security of legal system."