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Dell World Focus on Data Center and Its Place in the Cloud

Dell World Focus on Data Center and Its Place in the Cloud
By Barry Levine

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Dell has been expanding its own line of solutions by working closely with partners such as SAP, Microsoft and VMware, said analyst Charles King. He added that Dell's approach, along with open solutions like OpenStack, "gives a 'better bang for the buck' and provides a focus on customer choice by not forcing companies into a walled-garden approach."
 


Updated Active System Manager software, a stronger commitment to the open source OpenStack software, and a recommitment to servers. Those are some of the news items that emerged from the Dell World conference this week in Austin, Texas.

Updates to the Active System Manager software in Dell's data center appliances use technology that Dell acquired when it recently bought Gale Technologies, a provider of cloud and data center management software. Active System Manager now has the capability to deploy virtual clusters for computing and storage in a much more efficient manner than previously, the company said, and a new memory-based, "tier zero" storage offers faster access to cached data.

Increasing OpenStack Commitment

Active Infrastructures, a set of infrastructure solutions to simplify deployment of applications, virtual desktop infrastructures and private clouds was unveiled by the company in October. It has been targeted at data centers using x86 servers, and can be provided either as pre-integrated systems, or, through Active System architectures, as frameworks for creating virtualized infrastructures.

The company also announced that it is increasing its commitment to public and private cloud products based on the open source OpenStack package that has received wide-scale support from such companies as IBM, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. The company is releasing a technical preview of its private cloud offering with OpenStack, called Dell Cloud Dedicated. Dell said that using OpenStack as the primary platform "offers customers the benefits of scalability, self-service access and a consumption-based model."

Dell was an early participant in the OpenStack effort, along with Citrix, NASA and Rackspace. The company said it will still, however, offer some cloud products based on technologies such as VMware or Microsoft Azure, and will continue to offer solutions for "any type of cloud."

'Focus on Customer Choice'

In his keynote address at the conference, founder, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell said that Dell was first in servers in North America and in Asia in terms of shipments. He said the company was only 64,000 unit sales behind world leader HP, and suggested to the audience that, "if everybody here buys 10 servers, I think we've pretty much got it." At any rate, he said, the trajectory indicates that Dell will take the No. 1 global spot "within the next few quarters."

Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, said the basic message emerging from Dell World was that "the strategy the company has been following since Michael Dell came back in 2007 is proceeding" -- that is, moving from a PC-focused company to one offering end-to-end business solutions.

He noted that companies like Oracle and HP "are moving more toward proprietary vertical stack solutions, a 'back to the future' approach similar to what we saw in the '70s and '80s."

But, King added, Dell has been expanding its own line of solutions by working closely with partners such as SAP, Microsoft and VMware. He added that this approach, along with open solutions like OpenStack, "gives a 'better bang for the buck' and provides a focus on customer choice by not forcing companies into a walled-garden approach."
 

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