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Dell World 2015: New hybrid cloud service and 'coopetition'

Dell and Microsoft introduced a new hybrid cloud service. What does it mean for the enterprise? Also in Searchlight: IBM reports drop in profit; drone registration required.

Michael Dell is on (hybrid) cloud nine.

Following last week's historic EMC deal, Dell announced at this week's Dell World 2015 conference that it is teaming with Microsoft to help businesses adopt a hybrid cloud strategy. To emphasize the importance of the launch, Dell CEO Michael Dell and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared the Dell World stage to talk about their new enterprise offering.

The Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft, as it's dubbed, is an integrated hybrid cloud service that combines Dell's hardware, software and consulting services with Microsoft's cloud services, allowing CIOs to manage public, private and hybrid cloud environments from a single console. It is an expansion of Dell and Microsoft's Cloud Platform System (CPS) Premium, but on a smaller scale, making for greater accessibility and a fast deployment -- from zero to operational in three hours.

"It's a good partnership for both, especially Dell," Glenn O'Donnell, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, said in an email. "It gives Dell a more serious play in the cloud market. It positions Dell to act as a channel for Azure, as it uses its cloud management software to help its customers who want a path to cloud via Dell."

Other big-name vendors like Cisco, HP and Oracle are also pushing the hybrid cloud model, each with their own competitive offerings. What separates Dell and Microsoft's cloud offering from the pack, according to Richard Fichera, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, is Azure.

"Azure … is a demonstrable, enterprise-grade, highly scalable cloud platform, both in a [platform as a service] PaaS and [infrastructure as a service] IaaS model," wrote Fichera in a blog post. "It is the major challenger to Amazon AWS and … has implemented many of the same advanced capabilities that others are still struggling with."

One competitor, HP's Helion cloud computing platform, is shutting down its public cloud service for good after a troubled road. O'Donnell believes HP will now focus more heavily on an approach similar to Dell's.

Ray Wang, principal analyst, founder and chairman at Constellation Research Inc., had this to say about the fight for hybrid cloud dominance:

Building a 'viable cloud story'

The difficulty of meshing software and hardware has been somewhat of a barrier to grand-scale adoption of the hybrid cloud model. Will Dell's new hybrid cloud service help more CIOs make the transition to the cloud? Maybe, according to O'Donnell -- especially if they're already Dell-leaning.

"It gives them another option for cloud, without convoluting their decisions with a whole new cloud player," wrote O'Donnell. "It has more impact to CIOs that already have built a cozy relationship with Dell or are considering such a relationship. These CIOs know they need a cloud strategy and, until recently, they felt Dell didn't have a viable answer."

As Dell seeks to extend its hybrid cloud service reach across the enterprise, we can expect more cloud-focused actions from the tech giant, according to O'Donnell.

"This is a good step toward Dell having a viable cloud story," O'Donnell wrote. "Expect a lot more like this coming from Dell. The EMC deal will bring the new Virtustream venture that adds more clout -- and for now, a bit more confusion. Dell's cloud story has to span multiple clouds if it is to be effective. Expect a similar partnership with AWS. Coopetition in the tech world is very common."

That's an understatement if you're Michael Dell, who had this to say about where Dell and its partners will take enterprises: "Dell is set to become an enterprise solutions powerhouse. We are set to build the world's infrastructure for the next 20, 30 years. You're going to cure cancer. You're going to feed the world. We have the vision, the infrastructure and the horsepower to help you dream that big."

CIO news roundup for week of Oct. 19

Here is more technology news from the week:

  • At this week's Twitter Flight Developer Conference, CEO Jack Dorsey talked about Twitter's revamped vision for the future and surprised audience members by apologizing to developers. "We want to reset our relationship and make sure that we're learning, listening and that we are rebooting," Dorsey told developers. Dorsey also gave one-third of his Twitter stock to the employee equity pool.
  • Drone use is about to be more regulated. This week, the U.S. government announced a program that will require all drones to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. As TechCrunch reports, the announcement comes after a steep rise in "near misses" between aircrafts and drones throughout the U.S. over the last year.
  • IBM reported 14% lower profits in the third quarter, raising doubts about its new strategic initiatives. The past several years, the company has invested heavily in new, up-and-coming areas, such as data analytics, artificial-intelligence software, cloud computing, mobile applications and security, as reported by The New York Times.
  • The U.S. government is going to have a hard time getting information from individuals' iPhones. Apple told a U.S. judge this week that it would be "impossible" to access data stored on a locked iPhone without having the password. This is part of the U.S. Justice Department's quest to force Apple and other companies to help authorities access a seized phone during an investigation.

Check out our previous Searchlight roundups on what the Dell-EMC deal says about the changing CIO role and IBM's cognitive business unit.

Next Steps

More coverage of Dell World 2015:

Dell's cloud system opens up new opportunities for channel partners

Dell revamps Dell AppAssure and adds Endpoint Recovery. Where will they fit after the EMC acquisition?

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What is your hybrid cloud service of choice?
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We've seen "cloud in a box" offerings for on-prem before, and the Dell Multi-Cloud Manager (formerly enStratius) is a good product, but rarely do we see good linkage in two key areas:

1 - How to operate the oo-prem resources in a way that is like a public cloud experience (e.g. - self-service, rich catalog of services, etc.)
2 - How to link together public and private services.

Will be very interested to see how the Dell/MSFT partnership differs from previous/similar HP/MSFT partnerships and how this might eventually link into the EMC/VMW assets. 
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