It has been around a decade since Dell and Red Hat’s collaboration, when they helped launch Red Hat Linux into the mainstream. Now, they have gotten back together to collaborate on an enterprise-grade version of OpenStack, based on the Havana version. This announcement recently followed another announcement from Red Hat that they would be bundling OpenStack with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.
After spending some quality time in the various hypervisors’ space, Dell has decided to invest some time, effort, and capital into OpenStack. This will become a significant piece of its cloud computing strategy going forward. To start, Dell will sell hardware with Red Hat OpenStack installed in what looks like a typical OEM relationship. Sources say that this is just the beginning. Moving forward, we should see Dell Professional Services and other services units establish themselves as the main service and support providers for the OpenStack product line, even supporting customers who are not running on Dell hardware.
I think this is a good move for Dell, getting itself a place with the big boys at the cloud computing table. Waiting until now may be a true blessing for Dell in that industry. Support has been circling around OpenStack, with HP, IBM, and Oracle jumping on board by joining the OpenStack Foundation. One aspect of this deal includes giving OpenStack the ability and flexibility to work with a collection of public cloud services, which will include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Windows Azure.
Dell’s strategy seems to be quite the opposite of that of its rivals, IBM and HP, in that IBM and HP have built or bought their own public cloud services. Dell will move forward helping its customers build their own private clouds, based on Red Hat’s OpenStack, that will have the ability to interact with the collection of the public cloud services in burst capacity.
In closing, I give Dell a big thumbs up on this collaboration. In a time when vendor lock-in can be a concern, Dell’s ability to “play well with others” will help put it in a unique niche. I think Dell is going to be leading the way in working with different services and hopefully enough APIs that it will be able to break open the lock of any vendor.