Dell EMC sees big partner play in new Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure stack

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack will be available in the second half of the year, although smaller developer versions are available now.

Peter Cutts, Senior Vice President Hybrid Cloud Platforms at Dell EMC

Dell EMC is announcing Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, another platform on which its hybrid cloud platform is now available. It follows its launch on the VxBlock converged platform, the VxRack FLEX, and earlier this year, the VxRail. While it was the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud’s availability on the VxRail that really made it a strong channel offering, the company says that the Azure Stack cloud will be strong for the channel as well.

“The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is the same thing as the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud when it comes to the approach we use,” said Peter Cutts, Senior Vice President Hybrid Cloud Platforms at Dell EMC. “We have taken all the IP and put it into a hyper-converged offering that loads onto the Azure system. It is a different component stack for software, but the hardware is the same. This turnkey offering leverages our three years plus of experience with this technology that we have honed and matured, and which reflects our expectation of where CI [converged infrastructure] and HCI [hyper-converged infrastructure] will go.”

Dell EMC’s existing cloud infrastructure offerings are, according to IDC, the market leader in the worldwide cloud infrastructure market for 2016, with $5.7 billion in revenue and 17.6 per cent market share.  Coincident with the product announcement, Dell EMC also announced the results of an IDC study they commissioned which showed that 79.7 per cent of large organizations already have a hybrid cloud strategy and 51.4 per cent already use both public and private cloud, with another 29.2 per cent expecting to do so within the next year.

“The real value of these offerings is that they provide upper level value of delivering applications completely as a service in a turnkey format, allowing customers to provision resources much faster,” Cutts said.

Extending the technology to a public cloud platform now makes sense, given that customers are looking for multi-cloud strategies, and doing it on Azure rather than AWS also makes sense, Cutts stated.

“66 per cent of enterprise servers run Microsoft, and Microsoft is the fastest growing cloud provider,” he said. “When you look at specific workloads, commercial enterprises and service providers are looking at workloads with an affinity for Microsoft applications and development tools. That’s a very strong market.”

AWS is also more on the VMware side of the house.

“VMware’s focus has been on the leverage of AWS as a target, and the work there is likely to continue on the AWS side,” Cutts said.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack can start with a 4 node SKU, and can add as many units as desired to scale up to a large footprint.

“A major value add is that the system has been hardened with Dell EMC security and encryption, Cutts said. “This includes geo-fencing. If something is in the wrong country when you boot up, it won’t allow service to start.”

The system also utilizes Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Azure for consistent services, APIs and consumption models, and has Dell EMC backup and protection technologies.

“With Dell EMC Networker, we are making sure we can protect the VMs, the infrastructure itself and the Azure stack,” Cutts said. “The data protection suite also has the option of self-service, so you don’t have to open a ticket.”

Cutts said that Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack should be significant for the channel.

“We believe this will be a huge partner play, both commercial and enterprise,” he said. “We’ve already seen the interest from the other offerings in a turnkey package delivered in a repeatable way. That turnkey type of approach to get customers up and running quickly is well suited to the channel.”

The offering is scheduled to be available in the second half of the 2017 calendar year. Historically, EMC offerings have synchronized to be available at the time of announcement, but the complicating factor here is working on this one with Microsoft.

“We are working in concert with Microsoft, and taking the time to do it right,” said Kevin Gray, director of product marketing, Dell EMC Hybrid Cloud Platforms.

“A single node developer evaluation is available today, however,” Cutts said. Dell EMC is also  currently taking early orders for 4 node configurations as part of the Early Adopter Initiative, which lets customers place orders early so they can be ready as soon as GA code is available.