Dell Bets $450 Million On Cloud Moves

Over the past few years, Dell has made multiple software acquisitions. You remember the names -- Silverback, Everdream, etc. But now, Dell Cloud Evangelist Barton George is starting to tell people how those deals fit together into a $450 million cloud and SaaS (software as a service) push.

First, a little background: We've followed George closely as he moved from Sun Microsystems to Lombardi software and now to Dell. The guy understands social media and open communications.

A case in point: The Planet posted a video interview with George, in which he discusses Dell's cloud computing strategy and why he's not ready to write off the private cloud. Here's a look at the video. Our analysis follows below:

Reading Between the Lines

Here's what stuck with us.

First off, George says Dell's spent over $450 million on software development and acquisitions - including the purchasing of companies like Everdream, Silverback, MessageOne, and ASAP Software, to provide niche public cloud services. Which niche? Managed services, of course: those acquired companies handled everything from e-mail archiving to network infrastructure monitoring.

Rather than compete in the cloud with broad, A-listers like Amazon Web Services, George said, Dell is striving to provide integrated solutions for clients, using Dell hardware, Dell infrastructure and managed services tools, and third-party hardware.

As for the future of cloud computing, George said he's not ready to toll a death knell for the concept of the private cloud in favor of the public cloud, as some industry watchers already have.

As we pointed out, companies will always have something they want to keep behind their own security. Instead, George predicts that IT will become a mixture of the four "pillars" of modern enterprise computing - virtualization, the private cloud, the public cloud, and traditional IT.

Speaking of virtualization, George said that he feels it's currently a learning tool for IT departments and MSPs who don't understand the full potential of the cloud and insist on running familiar applications in familiar environments. While he said he doesn't see it going away any time soon, it may or may not be proven redundant as the technology matures.

What About Partners?

In fairness to George, The Planet wasn't interviewing him about Dell's MSP and SaaS channel partner strategy. But going forward Dell needs to publish more videos like this -- only, the videos need to specifically communicate with Dell channel partners.

As we pointed out Nov. 23, we think Dell has to start over-communicating its managed services partner strategy, otherwise concerns about the company's direct managed services efforts could potentially grow unchecked.

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