Putting the kibosh on its efforts to build out a public cloud Relevant Products/Services, Dell has announced a new program to market a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service through partners. The company will deliver the Dell Cloud Partner Program through an ecosystem of as many as 20 partners.

Dell will act as a single-source supplier to offer customers a choice of vendors and technology that won't lock them into a single platform or pricing model. Dell will also offer central point-of-solution integration and control.

And with that, sales of Dell's current in-house multi-tenant public cloud IaaS will be discontinued in the U.S. Dell is initially partnering with Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeroLag as part of its new initiative.

More Value?

"Many Dell customers plan to expand their use of public cloud, but in order to truly reap the benefits, they want a choice of providers, flexibility and interoperability across platforms and models, the ability to compare cloud economics and workload performance, and a cohesive way to manage all of it," said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Dell Cloud. "The partner approach offers increased value to Dell's customers, channel partners and shareholders, as part of our comprehensive cloud strategy to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions."

One partner, Joyent, describes itself as a high-performance cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider for real-time Relevant Products/Services Web and mobile Relevant Products/Services applications. Joyent offers a Cloud IaaS with its open-technology platform. Joyent is positioned as a Challenger in the 2012 Gartner Relevant Products/Services IaaS Magic Quadrant and has out-of-the-box compatibility with Enstratius' multi-cloud management.

ScaleMatrix offers the TruCore Performance Cloud hosting platform. ScaleMatrix offers users control over functionality and performance. From its proprietary data Relevant Products/Services centers, ScaleMatrix offers services that leverage enterprise Relevant Products/Services hardware, storage and security Relevant Products/Services and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS Relevant Products/Services) mitigation services.

Finally, ZeroLag combines VMware Relevant Products/Services-powered on-demand cloud infrastructure Relevant Products/Services with professional services and custom-designed solutions.

Short- and Long-Term Bets

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said he believes Dell's move is shortsighted.

"Obviously, Dell is making the switch now because most of the momentum with cloud is with organizations building internal private clouds. I think Dell sees that as the low-hanging fruit for the cloud," Kerravala told us.

"The future, though, is going to see a lot more public cloud build-outs. VMware is going to be a big player in that market and I think they should have run parallel initiatives. Cutting one off for another is shortsighted. This might help them in the short-term but they may pay a price in the long-term. But given Dell's current state, maybe the short-term benefits far outweigh the long-term.

Dell also plans to enable Microsoft Relevant Products/Services Windows Server Hyper-V as a viable hypervisor choice for the OpenStack cloud platform. The company said it aims to give customers additional flexibility and choice to run OpenStack workloads within their existing Windows Server environments.

"Dell has been an active sponsor of OpenStack for almost three years," said Forrest Norrod, general manager at Dell Server Solutions. "This project from Dell will help the OpenStack community gain additional value from investments in Windows Server 2012, with opportunity to further explore OpenStack-based solutions and workloads within existing environments."