Cloud World Forum: Dell outlines its controversial cloud strategy

By Derek du Preez
23 Jun 2011 View Comments
Dell's headquarters in Round Rock Texas

Dell insists it can succeed in becoming a competitive cloud service provider by using the $15bn (£9.3bn) on its balance sheet to acquire companies with the relevant skills.

Bob Moul, general manager at Dell, spoke to Computing at this week's Cloud World Forum in London and outlined the company's ambitious cloud plans.

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"I think low-cost hardware will continue to be one of the pillars of the business, but at the macro level we are absolutely repositioning Dell to offer cloud solutions. Our public cloud offerings are going to be available later this year," said Moul.

Dell announced in April that it plans to invest $1bn (£613m) in new datacentres and technologies during its current fiscal year, offering both private and public cloud services.

Dell's plans to move away from low-cost hardware and into the cloud space highlight the market momentum behind so-called "as-a-service" offerings. Analysts suggest that the move is essential for the company's long-term survival, but competitors have labelled it as "desperate".

"We have 10m business customers and many of them are asking for advice on how to make the journey into the cloud," said Moul.

"I think a lot of our future cloud customers will come from our current customer base."

Moul is the former chief executive of cloud integrations company Boomi, acquired by Dell in November 2010, and he points to such acquisitions as a key factor in the transition to becoming a successful cloud provider.

"The main advantage for Dell is that it doesn't have a legacy of software. We aren't like some other vendors who are asking how they take legacy offerings they have had for 20 years and call it cloud," said Moul.

"However, we are acquiring what we don't have at the moment. Look at the acquisition of Boomi: Dell became experts in the cloud integration space overnight. We have got $15bn (£9.3bn) in cash sitting on the balance sheet, and we are looking into opportunities."

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