Dell punts VMware-powered cloud into play

The Dell Cloud service is the hardware specialist's first public cloud product and is targeted at businesses that want to move to the cloud but keep a familiar VMware-based user interface

Dell has taken to the cloud via a partnership with VMware, offering a service that lets businesses rent computers from an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud, while placing an emphasis on security.

The Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Services, announced jointly by the companies at VMworld in Las Vegas on Monday, brings the Texan hardware maker into firm competition with Google, Amazon, IBM, HP and other cloud providers.

"Dell and VMware will provide infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) choice for customer organisations, hosting and outsourcing firms, system integrators and service providers," Dell said in a statement on Monday. "The offer provides automation, multi-level security and availability, in order to manage on-demand capacity, workload scalability, [and other tasks]."

The service is Dell's first for public clouds and is aimed at businesses that want to move to such a cloud but still keep a familiar VMware-based interface. It will use security technology from Dell's acquisition of SecureWorks, along with products from VMware and Trend Micro.

Customers will be able to access rentable virtual CPUs, along with memory, storage networks, IP addresses and firewalls, Dell said. There will also be a version for hybrid clouds, in which VMware vCloud Connector provides a single portal for businesses to manage on and off-premise clouds.

The Dell Cloud is being offered to beta customers and should be generally available in the US in the fourth quarter and in Europe in 2012.

First shot in a likely volley

The move may be the first in a series of strategic cloud technologies Dell expects to announce. In April it disclosed plans to invest over $1bn (£613m) in 10 datacentres and associated infrastructure to support its cloud over the course of the year. It is also due to deliver a cloud based on top of Microsoft's Azure technology, but this has not happened yet.

Dell and VMware will provide infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) choice for customer organisations, hosting and outsourcing firms, system integrators and service providers.

– Dell

Additionally, Dell has developed an infrastructure-as-a-service private cloud product based on the open-source OpenStack project.

The company is experienced when it comes to building cloud-scale infrastructures, as it has its Data Centre Solutions bespoke server wing. On top of this, its partner VMware has a lot of experience in managing virtual public clouds based on its popular vSphere virtualisation suite, which is deployed widely in the enterprise.

Meanwhile, Dell rival HP has said it wants to get out of the PC business and head further in cloud and data analytics, via its Autonomy acquisition.

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