Dell Launches OpenStack-Based IaaS Platform
Dell is hoping to give customers a turn-key open source cloud solution option as an alternative to proprietary, licensed software models with the launch today of Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution. With this first ever cloud solution based on the OpenStack platform, Dell's banking on channel partners to help deliver open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service to customers and to revolutionize its own business along the way.
"Dell is going through a transformation as a company," says John Igoe, executive director of Dell Cloud Solutions. "We are continuing to evolve and invest in our model and this is one of the things we're announcing to further change the way that we engage with our customers and with our partners in bringing solutions to the marketplace."
Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution comes as a culmination of Dell's work as a founding member of the OpenStack initiative. It has worked closely with a number of key OpenStack partners, including Rackspace, Citrix, Opscode, Canonical and Intel.
"In demonstrating our commitment to that we have been working with the community to get it off the ground, attending the design summits and actually defining, identifying and submitting software blueprints to the community for consideration as open stack projects," Igoe says.
The solution consists of a hardware reference architecture, servers, a storage model and also a networking model built around OpenStack software and a management framework developed by Dell that the company dubbed "Crowbar." Igoe says it will also include things like white papers and services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders wrapped around the solution that will give customers and channel partners the opportunity to engage in the development of the OpenStack-based cloud.
According to Igoe, this new solution can be a big opportunity for the channel if partners are ready to take advantage.
"Certainly our channel partners have seen demand in their customer base to assist and perhaps host environments for the end users and OpenStack can actually be used by our partners for implementations of clouds so that they can host payloads from their customers or even make available transaction-oriented, retail-like clouds for their customers."
The important thing is to not fear cloud as a replacement for the channel, but instead learn to adapt to customer demands while still offering the expertise and advice they've come to expect from their partners.
"I hear concern from our partners over what the role of the channel partner is in a cloud environment and I think from the standpoint of the end users, they're still looking for the relationship that they currently have with the channel, which is one of a trusted advisor," Igoe says. "I think what's happening is the content that the trusted advisor brings to the table has to expand to include the cloud. That means cloud knowledge, subject matter expertise and implementation expertise."