The Dell Cloud Arrives With PartnerDirect
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Dell adds strength to the battle by launching their cloud platform to the channel through their PartnerDirect program. This is a battle that IBM and HP are likely to be following very closely.

The Dell Cloud has been in the works for years as they have been slowly gathering all the right pieces to expand and create their offering. Their cloud platform, within the PartnerDirect community has been in a pilot state since earlier this year with a very small group of solution providers in North America. The attributes and core strategies that Dell professes in their cloud are:

  • Cloud Security
  • Cloud Infrastructure and Hybrid Integration
  • Application Aggregation and Integration
  • Cloud Services

The strategies and focus are very similar to the other manufactures moving to the cloud, namely HP and IBM.  Each of the three has their advantages and disadvantages. One of the few differences with Dell is the extreme alignment of their acquisitions to what one might consider a near flawless cloud model, at least at the present time.

Other companies are making acquisitions on a whim, but each of Dell’s acquisitions has been a proverbial home run that fills a hole in their cloud strategy. Dell hopes that the combined resources of these acquisitions placed into the Dell Cloud, will create a synergy that others cannot match. But since they have arrived rather late to the game, we will have to see if they can gain momentum to catch up.

The big question for all three of these companies is how well they are going to play in the channel. Microsoft has led the frustration, by fabulously disenfranchising their own channel partners, although some recent signs are promising.

The channel has been watching other vendors closely, wondering if they would follow suit. Unfortunately, HP, IBM, and Dell each have all had some shameful moments in their own partner histories. The fact that Dell is launching their cloud platform early within their PartnerDirect community, is their way of showing that they are committed to the channel.

Channels interest and reaction to Dell’s Cloud offering. Michael Pearson, the President of DSA Technologies, was one of the few companies that piloted Dell’s Cloud. Michael said, “I believe Dell’s option is going to be what we go with. It has an easy to understand pricing model, where we don’t have to worry about getting nickeled and dimed.”

Richard Heard, the President of Insight Investments, who also was part of the pilot:  “We are choosing the Dell Cloud because of increased security, and the costs are much better. We expect more than a 20% margin, on just the cloud services, not including the associated consulting, integration, and migration services.”

Tim Foster the President of Network Management Services, a former Dell partner: “I have held a grudge with Dell for over 10-years after some frustrating experiences. Maybe it is time for me to get over it since Dell appears to be positioning themselves as a powerful player in the non-PC era. The real question is, can I trust Dell as a partner or will they go after my clients?”

That sentiment is widely held in the channel for all the vendors that solutions providers work with, but especially for the manufacturers. Over the years a love/hate relationship has developed among solution providers and the partners that they work with, each vying for market share and profits in an ever crowded market.

Jeremy Ford, the Portfolio Director of Dell Cloud Services, recognizes there have been some partner problems in the past, “Our plan is to provide partners access to the full Dell Cloud portfolio, including cloud services. From the beginning, we have bolted it onto the PartnerDirect program for streamlined deal registration, pricing, and 3 cloud certifications, which will all help our partners close deals and get to market faster.”

The three cloud certifications offered by Dell are meant to educate partners and make sure that they know how to build, sell, and implement cloud services on top of Dell technology. The three cloud certifications are:

  • Cloud Builder
  • Cloud Provider
  • Cloud Services Enabler

There are not too many cloud-related certification programs in existence, so it is a smart move to educate and certify partners in delivering their cloud services. There are already too many cloud providers delivering cloud technology that really don’t understand the intricacies in security, resource overhead, redundancy, and the many other delicate topics of delivering cloud services, not to mention how to sell and price it.

It is clear that there is room in the cloud for the three main computing manufacturers: Dell, IBM, and HP. It will be interesting to see how cloud computing effects the strategic direction or working with partners. It is clear that cloud is not just a part of their strategic direction, but is a primary focus. Who will win this battle? The winner will be the company that rallies around their partners the best, and provides them with the tools and resources to make great things happen. Only time will tell who comes out on top.

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