Dell brings OpenStack cloud package to the UK

Dell has brought its OpenStack software and hardware package for on-premise clouds to Europe, giving telecoms and web hosting companies another avenue to explore when building clouds to resell to customers

Dell's OpenStack-based software and hardware package has become available in the UK, Germany and China, giving web hosting and telecommunications providers the opportunity to build a Dell-supported cloud and resell it to customers.

The product combines the open-source OpenStack cloud operating system with Dell PowerEdge C-Servers, Crowbar software for automating OpenStack installs, the 12.04 long-term support release of Ubuntu and management software, Dell announced on Wednesday.

OpenStack's technology competes with proprietary software from companies like Joyent and OnApp for datacentre operators that want a platform to use to resell cloud services to customers.

"We would be concerned about organisations thinking of this as an appliance... because it's not," Andy Cash, Dell's European director of next-generation computing solutions and networking, told ZDNet UK, before saying it was more a product whose cost and specifications would change on a "project-by-project" basis.

Dell first announced the OpenStack package in the US in mid-2011.

"The Dell Datacentre Solutions and PowerEdge C platforms are already used in some of the top internet and cloud services on a worldwide basis," said Cash. It is competitive with technologies from Amazon Web Services (AWS), he claimed, "if you add the nominally lower cost of standing up an open-source environment, if you have the right skill levels to take it into production, and you can base it on a highly efficient easy-to-operate platform environment".

The product is part of Dell's overall strategic shift as a company, which has seen the hardware specialist place more of an emphasis on building software and services for customers as it aims for the same kind of transition that IBM achieved in the mid-90s.

Like OnApp, Dell hopes web hosting and telecommunications companies will adopt its product and use it as the basis of their own clouds, which they will then use to resell services to customers.

Unlike Dell, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all publish detailed cost breakdowns of their cloud services online.

"I doubt we will ever come up with a one-stop price for this particular marketplace," said Dell's Andy Cash.

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