Dell Acquires Cloud Application Management Vendor Enstratius

Dell has announced the acquisition of  Enstratius which helps organizations manage applications across private, public and hybrid clouds, including automated application provisioning and scaling, application configuration management, usage governance, and cloud utilization monitoring.

What Does Enstratius Do?

On their web site, Enstratius claim to do the following:

The Enstratius Cloud Management System:

  • Enables self-service provisioning of cloud resources on any of the clouds we support through a single user ID.
  • Watches over your cloud infrastructure, monitoring any combination of supported cloud services — public, private or hybrid.
  • Enforces consistent governance policies for actions taken against your applications in any combination of supported clouds.
  • Automates applications running in one or more supported clouds, including provisioning, scaling, backup and disaster recovery

What does this mean for the Cloud Management Industry?

For some number of years, we have had Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which was simply virtualized hardware in support of the operating system stack of your choice, Platform as a Service (PaaS) which was simply the web server, application server (Java, Ruby, PHP, .NET or Python) and database server (most often MySQL) offered up as a service and then SaaS which was a true application offered by the application vendor, most often on a multi-tenant basis ( being the best and most prominent example).

What has been missing is the notion of enterprises being able to offer up their applications as services in their own clouds or in anyone else’s clouds. We addressed this question in “Are We Missing a Category of Cloud Computing?” which proposed the notion of Applications as a Service which is a great idea except for the resulting acronym (AaaS).

However, what this acquisition means is that someone smart at Dell has seen the light. Private, hybrid and even public cloud computing needs to be more about applications and less about infrastructure as a service or even application platforms as a service. Before Dell bought Quest, Quest had bought Surgient which was a nice test and dev focusd IaaS offering. But if the cloud is going to remain about test, dev, pilot, training, and other transient use cases, then who really cares. If the cloud is going to remain about the small number of applications that can be turned off at night or need to be dramatically scaled up during the day, then who cares.

The cloud will only go mainstream when Cloud Management software offered by both vendors of such software for use in private and hybrid clouds, and public cloud vendors who offer this functionality as a core feature of their offerings provide benefits to the core applications that enterprises run day in and day out.

Dell now joins a select number of vendors who can offer application management as a part of their cloud offerings. VMware got this party started with vFabric Application Director which allows customers to encapsulate scaled out n-tier applications into containers that can be deployed across clouds. vFabric Application combined with vCloud Automation Center (vCaC) makes VMware into the only enterprise Cloud Management vendor that can deliver IaaS, PaaS, and applications as a service in an automated way through a service catalog. Other vendors in this space include:

  • FluidOps who offers a “Landscape as a Service” which is their method of encapsulating a complex multi-tier application into a container that contains all of the rules and settings required to deploy that application in a cloud. FluidOps’ Landscape as a Service is notable for its encapsulation of SAP.
  • Cloud Sidekick who offers Maestro a container and scripting environment that can be used in both rapidly evolving DevOps situations, and with enterprise applications like PeopleSoft
  • ElasticBox who offer an application infrastructure container that with the assistance of installation scripts for the actual applications from Puppet or Chef can deploy the middleware for an application and the application itself in a variety of public and private clouds.

What does this mean for Dell?

With Enstratius, Dell now throws its hat into this ring which means that Dell has most likely chosen not to compete at the hypervisor level (be friends with VMware, Microsoft, and Red Hat) nor at the lower levels of the Cloud Management stack. This does mean that Dell means to offer its customers a way to “cloudify” applications across a variety of clouds, which is a logical extension of the cross-platform management strategy that is implemented in the Dell/Quest suite of management software products (primarily the Foglight family).

You read the complete Dell announcement here.


Dell’s acquisition of Enstratius means that Dell intends to help organizations manage applications across private, public and hybrid clouds, including automated application provisioning and scaling, application configuration management, usage governance, and cloud utilization monitoring.

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