2015 was a big year for Dell in the cloud space, highlighted by its joint launch of Cloud Platform System Standard with Microsoft at Dell World in October. The new Microsoft platform, built on optimized Dell modular infrastructure and co-engineered by both companies, is designed to provide the ultimate in the Azure hybrid cloud. However, while Dell believes it achieved a leadership position among its competitors this year in the hybrid cloud, it also believes it is well positioned to capitalize on what it sees as the key changes in the cloud in the year ahead, with multi-cloud environments being at the top of the list.
“Our entire strategy around cloud has been simple,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager of Engineered Solutions and Cloud at Dell. “The world is going to hybrid cloud – it’s only question of how fast, not whether it will happen. The rest of the industry has caught on this year, but we maintained an advantage, particularly through the partnership with Microsoft that was announced this year.”
Ganthier said that even in a world where all the major OEMs have embraced the hybrid cloud, Dell enjoys some distinct advantages.
“While others talk about hybrid cloud strategies, we are now executing,” he said. “We have had successes in financial, media and communications, and some in the public sector. We have an advantage because we believe in heterogeneity. While HP has one view of the management construct, our platform works with competitor products, and there are multiple platforms we can do this on. We are able to manage Cisco switches better than Cisco! We also have a financial model that is unique in the industry in dealing with the cost of CAPEX.” For instance, Dell Cloud Flex Pay, announced as an addition to Dell’s Scale Ready Payment Solutions, provides something that neither Dell nor its competitors were offering before. Its differentiated payment solution allows customers to avoid immediate long term commitments and lets them experience hybrid cloud usage levels before committing to the purchase, in this case for the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft.
“Those are the kind of things we see as an industry imperative,” Ganthier said. “However in 2016, as the industry moves further to hybrid cloud, we believe it will also move to multi-cloud, and we want to give people the ability to move to more than one public cloud. On our hybrid cloud platform, you can’t tell the difference between Azure public and Azure private. We want to take the rest of the industry to full multi-cloud in 2016.”
Ganthier stressed that Dell is doing this now, that it’s not just a futures concept.
“We are shipping product that does that today with Dell Cloud Manager,” he said. “You can arbitrate or broker as an IT leader multiple different types of cloud.”
While the market today for this is limited, Ganthier said it should quickly expand, as a majority of mid-market and larger companies are already using multiple clouds. The 2015 Dell Global Technology Adoption Index, released in early December, indicates that 55 per cent of such organizations globally are using more than one kind of cloud, and so are good prospects for this type of solution.
“Large enterprises are the primary market for it today, but even some smaller enterprises and MSPs who aggregate smaller companies like lawyers offices are taking advantage of its capabilities,” he said.
Ganthier said that Dell’s catalogue of engineered cloud solutions and cloud financing will encourage customers to make this move.
“We want to make internal IT as easy as the public cloud with our engineered solutions, our management constructs, our differentiated financing and our global services support and partner ecosystems,” he said. “Our engineered solutions give us the ability to easily create a catalogue of cloud offerings. And while cost is still a large barrier, we believe our unique cloud financing will become a peak cloud enabler.”
Ganthier said that Dell’s hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies provide strong opportunities for channel partners.
“There is still a perception back from the public cloud that the channel is being left behind here,” he stated. “In fact, our hybrid cloud platform lets partners make more money faster with Dell, both in developing consultative capabilities as well as paying commissions on deals they bring in. The expansion of Dell ProSupport to deployment services for the first time [announced at Dell World] also opens up adjacencies and new opportunities they didn’t have before. Not only are partners participating in the cloud, but we are arming them, in a way no one else is.”
Ganthier urged partners to reach out to their partner managers about cloud.
“These are just the first of many platforms coming out from Dell,” he said. “There is an opportunity for many partners to reach out and ride the high-margin cloud business and we want to help them to do that.”