All of the major IT infrastructure companies dramatically expanded their services capabilities over the past decade to tighten their grip on their customers, so it stands to reason that they would follow the rest of the consulting and value-added services channel into the cloud. You might likewise expect that their cloud expertise be mostly centered on assisting with migrations related to their own technology.
Thus is the case with the Dell cloud services team, which, like most other cloud service providers I've studied in the past several months, stresses the need for companies to get their existing data centers in order before considering a major cloud-related project. "People often adopt these technologies without having the processes in place to handle them," said Ray Weinstein, director of virtualization and cloud infrastructure for Dell IT Consulting Services.
As his title suggests, Weinstein and his team are specifically focused on helping businesses understand the close link between data center virtualization and cloud infrastructure adoption -- and the need to automate processes around the first before really considering a migration into either a private or public model. "Until they understand this, any workloads that they throw into the cloud are probably doomed to failure," he said.
Naturally, one of the big themes on the group's Web page is readiness assessments, including the Dell Cloud Roadmap Accelerator service. Dell services has already built out a series of accelerators focused on several leading stacks, notably the Microsoft Private Cloud (for which is has created a series of accelerated migration services). The materials that Weinstein sent me after our discussion in late June also stress the team's best practices around VMware and OpenStack, but Dell recently shifted its overarching strategy related to those infrastructures, at least when it comes to offering them as a public service.
Dell raised eyebrows in May when it acquired Enstratius, which focuses on cloud-management software and services that can be used to help organizations manage their applications across private, public and hybrid clouds. "Dell, together with Enstratius, is uniquely positioned differentiated, complete cloud-management solutions to enterprise customers, large and small, employwer them with the efficiency and flexibility in the allocation and use of resources," said Tom Kendra, vice president and general manager of systems management softwre for Dell Software, when the deal was announced.
Although Weinstean passes on discussing the Enstratius strategy, which is managed as part of another division, the marketing materials that he sent me emphasize the organization's ability to "get ahead of 'cloud sprawl'," so it is definitely a development that will spark conversations among existing Dell customers.
The list of public and private clouds supported by Enstratius is lengthy. Here's the complete list from the presentation I was sent:
- HP Cloud Services
- Amazon Web Services
- Tata Communications InstaCompute
- Verizon Terremark
- Service Express
- Windows Azure