Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Dell and Microsoft Partner on Azure Hybrid Cloud 

Dell is further aligning its fortunes with hybrid cloud through a newly announced partnership with Microsoft.

This morning, Dell and Microsoft unveiled the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft, a bundled hybrid Azure cloud solution designed to reduce the time and financial risk associated with adopting this platform. The offering extends on Dell's collaboration with Microsoft on its Cloud Platform System Premium (CPS), and was the topic of discussion between Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at this morning's Dell World Keynote in Austin, Texas.

"The real world we live in needs that flexibility so you can take any given workload and run it private, hybrid, or public," said Nadella. "That's the kind of future we envision – and we have it now."

Added Dell: "It brings the power of Azure to a hybrid cloud environment."

The Hybrid Cloud System includes Dell hardware, services, and funding with Microsoft Azure on one service level agreement, an approach designed to remove the buying complexity from hybrid cloud. To eliminate the technological intricacies, Dell and Microsoft co-engineered the solutions to ensure seamless operation in systems that range from 32- to 128-nodes, said Ryan O'Hara, partner director of program management, Private Cloud Solutions, at Microsoft.

Built around Dell CPS Standard, the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft features:

  • On-premises private cloud, with consistent Azure public cloud access in less than three hours
  • Minimized downtime with unified system updates designed to be non-disruptive, fully automated, dependency-aware, and smart-sequenced.
  • The ability to build and provision workload templates and flexibly deploy business services and governance models of multiple cloud environments from one management construct, via out-of-the-box integration with Dell Cloud Manager (DCM)
  • Unified, simplified private-with-public cloud management and consumption control across Windows Azure Pack (WAP), Azure, and other cloud services, according to Dell.
  • Financing through Dell Cloud FlexPay, which allows customers to reduce their short- and long-term cost and risk almost to zero, paying as little as $9,000 per month for contracts that can be as brief as six months, the vendor said.

"Equally important is the financial risk of going in," said Glenn Keels, executive director of product management for Dell Cloud and Integrated Systems.Organizations typically worry about changing business climates, long-term risk, keeping capital on the books if they are acquired, and upfront liability, he said. Through its newly created FlexPay offering, Dell hopes to allay these concerns.

"Dell's done a very good job of going to the marketplace and checking off the box of objections customers have. Dell Cloud Manager is a great tool for putting that hook in the ground and pulling these companies up," Chris Wilder, Cloud Practice Leader at Moor Insights & Strategy, told EnterpriseTech. "If you're not a numbers wonk or a finance wonk, it's very difficult to finance cloud services. They typically have to have an asset they can amortize over five or six years. I think the price point is about right, not a huge investment from their customer's perspective."

Most customers want to lower the barrier of entry so they can start small, and then choose a path to hybrid cloud as they need it, said Keels. Yet hybrid and private cloud sales flattened last year, most likely due in part to complexity and pricing confusion, he noted.

Dell queried enterprises and smaller companies about the challenges to adopting hybrid cloud, an approach nine out of 10 businesses say is the route to achieve business and IT transformation, said Keels. Yet a recent worldwide poll by Dell of IT decision makers found only 30 percent of those organizations have begun to "unlock the promise of hybrid cloud," he said. The vendor's newly released Dell Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI 2015) determined 55 percent of organizations globally use more than one type of cloud. Cost and security are the biggest barriers to adopting and implementing cloud -- and complexity is the barrier most often associated with hybrid cloud, GTAI 2015 found.

"We need to remove that financial risk and provide that control over clouds," said Keels.

Dell automated much of the deployment process associated process, allowing organizations to operate a Dell Hybrid Cloud System within about three hours, he said.

"That's unprecedented in the industry, in how fast hybrid cloud can be stood up. The fact you can lease a solution for six months and, if you don't like it, kick it to the curb, that's huge," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an interview. "It's as close to risk-free as you can get. Sure you've invested the hours to get it, but I see it as a vote of confidence that Dell thinks very few people will send it back."

This is one of many partnerships Dell has made in the cloud (and other) arenas, analyst Wilder noted. "The good news is Dell's cloud strategy is all about being best in breed whether it's Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, Azure… they aren't getting religious about exactly which technology to support," he said."Now that's not to the deteriment of other software partners. This whole federation, I absolutely see that continuing."

 

About the author: Alison Diana

Managing editor of Enterprise Technology. I've been covering tech and business for many years, for publications such as InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Florida Today. A native Brit and longtime Yankees fan, I live with my husband, daughter, and two cats on the Space Coast in Florida.

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