With the tech world all abuzz about the blockbuster Dell buyout of EMC, a few thoughts on what the combination of Dell and EMC could mean from a cloud perspective.
First, both companies have stayed out of the public cloud offering fray, preferring instead to partner with managed and cloud service providers rather than compete with them. This could change, however, given Dell’s predilection to be an end-to-end solutions provider from consumer technology products to mid-range data center offerings and now enterprise class products vis-a-vis the EMC acquisition. Having a bonafide hosted public cloud offering would make the newly reformed Dell a total end-to-end solutions provider that could go toe-to-toe with the Oracles, IBMs, Ciscos and HPs of the tech universe; all of whom already have public cloud solutions.
So what’s in the newly-formed bag of tricks with the EMC acquisition soon to be in hand? Let’s consider Virtustream.
EMC has been uncharacteristically close-lipped about their plans for Virtustream’s public cloud offerings since announcing the acquisition at EMC World in May. The CEO of Virtustream made a cameo appearance at last month's VMworld, but didn’t discuss in detail how Virtustream would snap into EMC’s tech portfolio. Perhaps now we know why.
It will be interesting to see if Virtustream becomes the public cloud go-to-market platform for Dell. In addition to Virtustream’s IaaS, the combined EMC and Dell entities would bring a mature PaaS technology via Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry platform, an OpenStack distro through Dell and a rich portfolio of cloud backup and DR offerings. Dell also has a hybrid cloud management solution (Dell Cloud Manager) that provides a single interface for IT administrators and users to manage and consume hybrid cloud workloads across disparate cloud service providers (AWS, Azure, Google, vCloud Air, etc.)
Furthermore, these technologies could be brought to bear in private cloud environments in tandem with converged and hyper-converged offerings from both organizations. For example, EMC’s VCE portfolio has enterprise-class converged infrastructure based on VMware, hyper-converged scale-out solutions which can be configured with various private cloud “profiles” (i.e. OpenStack) while Dell’s Microsoft Cloud Platform System can be used for businesses interested in deploying AzureStack. Given this new private cloud infrastructure depth and breadth, it will be interesting to see how Dell’s OEM relationship with Nutanix evolves post-acquisition.
The next question is how will VMware’s vCloud Air fit into the new Dell/EMC paradigm? Could new synergies develop between vCloud Air and a potentially new public cloud offering from Dell or will vCloud Air be quietly relegated to a supporting role over time? Much to be seen ahead.