Recently, I sat down with Terri McClure, ESG’s mobility analyst, to discuss the implications of Dell’s acquisition of EMC from a cloud, mobility and converged/hyperconverged markets perspective.
Dell as a CSP?
Up to this point, EMC and Dell have both stayed out of the public cloud provider market, preferring instead to partner with cloud and managed service providers. That could change given Dell’s driving interest in becoming a total end-to-end solutions provider. With the EMC acquisition, Dell becomes a total end-to-end provider from consumer goods to enterprise class data center technologies. The one missing element? A public cloud offering.
Through the EMC acquisition, however, Dell inherits a public cloud IaaS provider that is very highly regarded across the industry - Virtustream. And with Pivotal, Dell can add a robust PaaS offering via Cloud Foundry into their public cloud services portfolio. In addition, Dell and EMC both have an extensive backup and DR technology portfolio to draw from. This can be put to good use as Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS) offerings - two very solid public cloud use cases that continue to track well from a cloud services adoption standpoint according to ESG Research.
Challenges? Playing catch up with the public cloud industry of course. It will take time for Dell to establish a presence should they decide to enter the public cloud space. But I think this would be less important in the short-term given that the intent here would be to have offerings that span the gamut - consumer products, mid-sized business solutions, enterprise class technologies and a public cloud that could service all three of these potential client bases. Moreover, through a bevy of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure offerings, the combined entity of Dell/EMC will be well positioned to enable IT private and hybrid cloud infrastructure transformation. More on that below.
Once the EMC acquisition is complete, Dell will be vaulted to the top of the converged infrastructure leaderboard via VCE. But aside from VBLOCK’s lead in the enterprise, VCE has some very interesting capabilities with their VxRack offering. Based on the Scale-IO technology that EMC acquired a couple of years ago, the VxRack can be outfitted with different “personalities” or software-defined storage and cloud platform profiles.
For example, the VxRack can be configured with EVO:RAIL (VMware’s hyperconverged reference architecture offering) or it can be configured with OpenStack. Dell has an OpenStack distribution so this will give them a way to provide a turnkey or an appliance approach to deploying OpenStack in the enterprise; a trend that seems to be gathering increased momentum with a rack ready OpenStack solution available from Cisco and an OpenStack appliance available from Mirantis.
From an Azure Stack perspective, Dell already OEM’s Microsoft’s Cloud Platform System software and sells it on a pre-configured rack of Dell compute and storage hardware. VCE’s VxRack can potentially provide the SMB or ROBO version of this same private cloud Azure Stack platform - a scale-out solution that can start with as little as 3 nodes. Some enterprise organizations, and service providers in particular, however, may find a VxRack Azure stack solution appealing as well – start small but have the ability to scale-out to hundreds of nodes to support next generation/cloud ready applications.
In short, this gives Dell and Dell's customers a wide variety of deployment options to choose from to implement converged and hyperconverged solutions that can accelerate business cloud computing capabilities. Whether Dell will actually take the plunge into the cloud service providers market is anyone’s guess but don’t be surprised if they do.