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Dell Launches Cloud Partner Program

Dell's Cloud Computing Evangelist, Barton George, says the company is launching a Cloud Partner Program. At first glance that's hardly surprising, considering all the cloud hype -- and opportunity -- in the market. But take a closer look at Dell's strategy and you might be surprised by Dell's first three Cloud Partner Program members. They aren't household names -- yet.

The VAR Guy

March 25, 2010

3 Min Read
Dell Launches Cloud Partner Program

Dell’s Cloud Computing Evangelist, Barton George, says the company is launching a Cloud Partner Program. At first glance that’s hardly surprising, considering all the cloud hype — and opportunity — in the market. But take a closer look at Dell’s strategy and you might be surprised by Dell’s first three Cloud Partner Program members. They aren’t household names — yet. And in a related move, there are signs Dell will work more closely with Microsoft on Windows Azure. Here’s the story.

According to George:

“Working with cloud ISVs we will be offering easy-to-buy and deploy cloud solutions and blueprints optimized for and validated on Dell platforms. The first three partners we are announcing are Aster Data (providing web analytics), Canonical (offering an open source Infrastructure as a Service private cloud) and Greenplum (self-service data warehousing).   (On the Evolutionary cloud side we will continue to work with VMware and Microsoft  and stay tuned for news on what’s happening on the Windows Azure front.

Leave it to George: He’s good at teasing us with a sequel before we’re done with the current story.

Initial Partners

Before The VAR Guy mulls a possible Dell-Windows Azure relationship, let’s take a closer look at Dell’s first three Cloud Partner Program members.

Next Moves

So, what exactly is Dell up to with its Cloud Partner Program? The VAR Guy’s best guess: Dell wants to offer enterprises turnkey platforms for building private clouds. And at the same time, Dell seems to be turning an eye to public cloud and SaaS platforms.

According to a Dell press release:

“Dell has created the new Cloud Partner Program to expand the options available for customers looking to build and deploy public and private clouds. Thanks to solution blueprints and deployment guidelines, these validated solutions are easy for customers to deploy and run, and are supported by Dell and its partners.”

Barton George’s mention of Windows Azure surely is interesting. Rewind to 2008, and Dell insiders said Dell servers would power the Windows Azure cloud. Fast forward to the present, and the Dell press release states:

“Dell and Microsoft will collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, with Dell and Microsoft offering services, and Microsoft continuing to invest in Dell hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.”

Reality Check for VARs

Where do VARs and managed services providers fit into the Dell Cloud Partner Program? That remains unclear. But Dell’s choices in partners — particularly the work with Canonical — could give Ubuntu Linux resellers some more confidence as they pitch Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud to customers.

Still, Dell’s track record in SaaS, cloud and managed services is mixed. Acquisitions — such as Dell’s buyout of Silverback Technologies and Everdream — help to launch Dell’s SaaS-oriented managed services. But those initiatives also have direct sales components, which have alienated some partners.

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