TotalCIO

Oct 19 2015   11:26AM GMT

Dell-EMC and the cloud joust

Nicole Laskowski Nicole Laskowski Profile: Nicole Laskowski

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Senior IT leaders and analysts called the $67 billion Dell-EMC deal a good thing, for the most part. A combined and stable Dell-EMC should offer CIOs a great source of products for their company data centers, but what about cloud offerings? For some experts, that’s the big question.

Jonathan Reichental, CIO for the City of Palo Alto, and Glenn O’Donnell, vice president and research director at Forrester Research Inc., described the merger as a data center infrastructure play, a still-important global market. “There is still a sizable global market in data centers. Those systems have to be updated and modernized,” Reichental said.

O’Donnell echoed Reichental’s comment about continuing to meet those traditional hardware needs for the enterprise. “The extreme majority of companies are still going to require some in-house data technology,” he said. For those purchases, CIOs are going to want a trusted advisor who won’t gouge them on prices. The Dell/EMC combo could provide that balance, he said.

But how the Dell-EMC deal plays in hotter, less mature technology areas such as cloud services, which give the business added flexibility and agility, is still a little muddy, O’Donnell said. Speculation abounds, but Dell has not publicly stated its plans for the “EMC federation,” a collection of acquired companies that had “significant autonomy” under EMC, including Pivotal, RSA and, most notably, VMware, according to a report titled Quick Take: Dell Buys EMC, Creating a New Legacy Vendor.

“In particular, the combined firm has not committed to merging or otherwise rationalizing EMC Virtustream and VMware vCloud Air into a single service portfolio, which means there’s little impact on the public cloud market,” according to the report, which was written by several Forrester analysts, including O’Donnell. Virtustream (acquired by EMC in May) offers a suite of cloud management services while vCloud is a public cloud platform.

It’s not as though Dell-EMC is out of the cloud game. The merger will enable Dell to provide “converged solutions to power private clouds,” according to the Forrester report. In fact, Forrester recommends the CIOs of companies more than a decade old to “keep Dell on your shortlist for converged infrastructure private cloud.”

But is it enough? The Forrester report (among others) goes on to say that those offerings won’t be able to match the prowess of “hyperscale public cloud leaders Amazon Web Services, Google, IMB and Microsoft,” who are all aiming for the enterprise.

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