Dell launches beta Cloud Marketplace

Dell wants to convince its enterprise customers to work with them to consolidate cloud services acquisitions rather than to go directly to the service providers. The questions: Why Dell, and will companies actually work with Dell in this way?

A marketplace is where people gather to examine various products and then purchase one that meets their requirements. Dell just launched a beta program, called Dell Cloud Marketplace, to test out its approach to aggregating cloud services from a number of suppliers.

James Thomason, CTO, Dell Cloud Marketplace, stopped by recently to introduce the concept and answer the question "Why Dell?"

Here's what Dell has to say about its Cloud Marketplace

Dell Cloud Marketplace is an online platform that makes it easy for IT organizations to offer cloud services to their internal customers, consolidating the management, billing, and support of cloud services in a single easy-to-use experience. Dell Cloud Marketplace is designed to empower both IT and developer users, providing developers with the agility and functionality they expect from the cloud, while unifying management and control of cloud services for IT.

Snapshot analysis

Dell is attempting to convince enterprises that they need Dell's help in corralling what the company says is a stampede of cloud purchases by end-user departments without the control or help of corporate IT. Here are a few of the cards that Dell is putting on the table:

  • Dell wants enterprises to believe that it is a trusted partner and will help get the "Wild West" back under corporate control.
  • It intends to build a curated cloud services short list to make the selection of providers both safer and faster.
  • Dell wants to help its customers re-impose corporate visibility, control and compliance in a world in which end-user departments purchase services they need without involving IT at all.
  • Dell is building tools to make deployments of selected cloud services easy.
  • Dell is hoping that its centralized billing will help enterprises understand the real costs of cloud services versus the benefits they are actually receiving.

While Dell is presenting a lovely vision of corporate IT regaining the control they've lost, it isn't at all clear that end-user departments will allow IT to once again become all powerful in the world of cloud services. These departments went to cloud service providers because they felt that corporate IT wasn't providing needed applications and services. After trying to work within the system and not seeing desired results, they took their available funds and went elsewhere.

Dell appears to have heard the cries of the IT organization and has developed its beta program to show that, with Dell's help, IT can once again control the use of information technology within the enterprise.

While the goals are lofty, it is not at all clear that 1) Dell will be able to develop a catalog of available services that will address all of the needs of enterprise end-user departments, 2) that enterprises will be able to make all of its departments toe the line and only use approved services, and 3) that Dell, combined with the IT department, will actually be able to address business requirements quickly and easily enough to convince the end-user department decision makers that IT is going to listen and be responsive this time around.