In recent years, many a traditional infrastructure vendor has launched itself into the growing cloud brokerage market, building on an understanding of its enterprise customers to focus on helping them choose the right cloud services and integrate them with their existing infrastructure.
Textbook hardware-turned-services titan Dell has been no exception to this as its felt its way through the new era of cloud with increasing confidence. In 2012 it scrapped the idea of building its own public cloud in favour of selling services from partners.
Dell's also done much to build confidence in OpenStack for enterprise cloud by teaming up with open-source software company Red Hat to resell its new private cloud deployments.
And now, while competitors Cisco and HP have launched their own public clouds based on third-party public clouds, Dell has chosen to go the whole hog as a single-source supplier. Later this year it will be launching a web-based platform called Dell Cloud Marketplace that acts as a 'unifying dashboard' for customers and partners to compare and configure diverse public, private and hybrid cloud networks.
Nick Hyner, Dell's EMEA director of cloud services explains the factors in play behind the company's direction going forward as a broker of OpenStack based cloud services.
Hyner believes a winning strategy for Dell is an open one that fully encompasses the variety of cloud configurations out there and eliminates vendor lock-in.
Hand in hand with the new all-inclusive cloud broker is the embracing of open-source in the cloud. Large vendors such as Dell are reaching a tipping point where they can no longer ignore the agility and innovative capabilities of those in the open-source community, and in turn they are driving an open-source revolution.
Dell has had its ear to the ground in the open source world for some time, says Hyner, and now that the major vendors and customers are beginning to understand the benefits there's likely to be a rapid advancement of these solutions to market.
Another major enabler of cloud is the software-defined everything trend, and Hyner explains how growing confidence in these technologies will continue to fundamentally transform the cloud market and managed services.
Ultimately all of this flexibility in the cloud will come down to the need for business leaders to rapidly create specific applications for their key business areas.