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Dell Launches Cloud Computing for Large-Scale Data Clients

By Jack M. Germain
Mar 29, 2007 1:53 PM PT

Dell announced Wednesday its new Cloud Computing Division targeting the specialized needs of large-scale data centers.

Dell Launches Cloud Computing for Large-Scale Data Clients

Creating what is essentially a "design-to-order" computing hardware manufacturing division will address a new business opportunity for Dell, officials said. The new division will focus on the specialized needs of businesses operating hyperscale computing environments that require rack and data center optimized technology and services.

Dell's Cloud Computing Solution is designed to provide data center optimization and increased energy efficiency, along with lower deployment and overall management overhead costs for customers whose IT infrastructure, or compute cloud, is the "factory" for their business. These data-intensive customers include major e-commerce vendors, financial organizations, government agencies and petroleum companies.

Those applications use this infrastructure or environment as a virtual computing service, sometimes referred to as "cloud computing." This customization eliminates the so-called feature tax often incurred by customers seeking to leverage general-purpose servers, storage, and networking equipment and services, according to Dell officials.

"Hyperscale customers have an IT infrastructure that is the driver of their business," David Lord, Dell business product group spokesperson, told TechNewsWorld. "These data-intensive customers include major providers of goods and services over the Internet, financial services organizations, national government agencies, institutional university and laboratory environments, and upstream petroleum producers."

New Environment

Virtualization can certainly be a component of cloud computing. Overall, however, cloud computing is a relatively new type of computing environment, Lord explained. It combines a grid software approach with a redundancy/availability layer provided by software with reasonably homogeneous application loads.

Using traditional high-availability hardware features and broad software support of all-purpose computers are overkill, he said. The applications utilize this cluster of servers as a virtual computing service, referred to as a "cloud computing" model.

"The compute scale is best served by custom-designed servers optimized for these customers' specific applications," Lord said in explaining Dell's interest in meeting these computing needs.

Changing Business Model

Dell hopes to take its existing build-to-order model to the next step: custom designing hardware and service solutions. This new manufacturing level will enable customers to optimize the performance of their IT infrastructure for their specific applications.

"Businesses requiring hyperscale computing environments -- where infrastructure deployments are measured by up to millions of servers, storage and networking equipment -- are changing the way they approach IT to drive revenue growth and decrease operational expenses," said Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's product group.

Dell's new division will maximize the performance of hyperscale customers' IT infrastructure and provide tangible value to this growing market segment, Anderson explained, adding that IT is not just a business factor, but a business driver.

"This is really new ground -- not only from a Dell perspective but for all tier-one and even smaller vendors," Lord emphasized. "Previously, customers utilized more all-purpose servers that were designed to meet a broad set of benchmarks or needs."

Key Features

Dell's hyperscale data center solutions are completely customized to meet specific customer needs. These include increased memory, and reduced latency and management, according to Lord.

A key feature is capacity planning for the Data Center. Dell assesses the business needs and requirements of each customer in the context of physical and logical limitations.

A second feature is hardware designed on-demand. This allows Dell's engineers to prototype and build hardware solutions that are tailored to specific customer requirements.

Third is component optimization. Dell engineers work at the component level to ensure the correct performance and total cost of ownership without delivering unnecessary components or features.

The last feature is enhanced custom services provided by on-site Dell support personnel deployed to service the hardware as needed.


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