One of the biggest trends in technology today is organizations moving information, infrastructure, and applications to the cloud. But cloud can take the form of different things for different organizations. Dell believes that customers will find the ideal balance of agility, TCO, and future-readiness in a hybrid cloud – one that integrates private, public, and managed cloud environments. We also recognize that customers are at varied levels of maturity and are engaging at different entry points into the cloud journey.


We recently sat down with Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Dell Engineered Solutions and Cloud, and talked to him about Dell’s differentiated cloud strategy and how our end-to-end cloud solutions portfolio is both flexible and scalable to best meet customers’ needs. Below is an excerpt from our discussion.



KLH: What do you want people to know about Dell’s cloud strategy?


JG: The most important difference about Dell’s cloud strategy is that it’s focused on helping our customers achieve their business objectives, not forcing our customers to abide by a vendor’s cloud vision. Because cloud adoption can take so many forms, the Dell difference begins with our ability to provide unbiased guidance and end-to-end solutions across the board - from supporting all private cloud platforms, to supporting the widest choice of public cloud vendors, to managing a heterogeneous, multi-cloud environment.


Dell can provide customers with the ideal cloud for their stage in the cloud journey: whether they need help in building a cloud on-premise, utilizing a public cloud environment, or managing their traditional IT environments using a local, regional or global model.


And Dell ensures that your cloud TCO always meets your organizational objectives – whether it’s through our scalability design tenet of “build small and grow fast”, or through the lower operational expense of a simpler, integrated cloud experience that’s easy to use and manage.



KLH: You discussed Dell’s advantage is having an end-to-end solution. What’s the benefit of this to the customer?


JG: We all know about Maslow’s Hammer, commonly paraphrased to, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” – there are many cloud providers with their own hammers out there but only Dell’s ability across cloud models and tools can give our customers the best possible TCO while delivering on unique business outcomes. The fact that Dell will soon be the only truly end-to-end cloud solutions provider ensures we are best positioned to give organizations the right solution today, and be there for them as their needs change in the future.


Another lens to view this from is that there are a number of different entry points for customers to adopt cloud. Organizations could be figuring out their cloud strategy via a consulting engagement; they could be evolving their data centers towards greater virtualization and into more cloud-like features; they could be adopting public cloud services for infrastructure or software-as-a-service; or they can manage their cloud themselves or get others to manage those environments.


And Dell goes a step beyond simply packaging the end-to-end (clients, enterprise, software, services, support) solutions; using Dell Financial Services, we can actually lower the barrier to entry for the right cloud solutions that might otherwise be difficult for organizations to adopt. Or we can work with our customers to give them the right balance of capital and operational expenses from their cloud implementation.


All these capabilities from our expertise, to our solutions portfolio, to financing and delivery give Dell an edge that ultimately helps our customers achieve the agility and rapid speed promised by cloud.



KLH: Regarding the competitive landscape, what are you seeing in the marketplace?


JG: Cloud is a fundamental shift in the marketplace. By 2020, the market spend for cloud, including Hybrid cloud, is expected to be between $200 billion to $250 billion. IT professionals and leaders are getting inundated with messaging about cloud offerings from not only traditional IT providers, but now also from non-traditional players.


Traditional IT hardware and software providers may offer integrated solutions, but they are built on proprietary versions which are not “Future Ready” and thus will often involve a costly rip-and-replace or forklift upgrade down the road. Non-traditional players typically do not offer integration across cloud layers or they only allow a single form factor or stack solution to a single problem—not a true solution that works for the entire data center.


We are also witnessing a level of maturity and understanding of the TCO of various cloud models that is resulting in a course correction we like to call Public Cloud Repatriation. Essentially, customers are moving workloads from public cloud to private cloud as they figure out the cost-benefit of various cloud models for different applications. There was an over-indexing on public cloud adoption by many organizations, and they’re beginning to recognize that a balanced approach is the best way to go long-term. This goes back to our point of view that most customers will eventually end up using hybrid cloud and helps Dell stand out as a true end-to-end hybrid cloud solutions provider.



KLH: Decisions are being made by others besides the CIO. How are you seeing this?


JG: We are seeing the biggest users of cloud driving many of the decisions, and—as you pointed out—these users are not always in the IT organization. CMOs are one of the biggest users of data to analyze sales and customer data to drive sales. CFOs need data to help determine trends to run the business. Other users range from HR to sales to logistics departments.


As more organizations adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud business model utilizing various clouds to meet different requirements, IT departments are faced with the new challenge of having to manage access, spending and consumption of cloud services across multiple platforms. So the defining challenge is, “how can business units continue to adopt cloud services quickly without giving up control and security?”


To help with these scenarios, Dell Cloud Manager provides a unified management console that can easily manage and deliver cloud services and applications–while adhering to governance requirements. With regard to costs, Cloud Manager helps users contain spend by enabling the organization to estimate cloud costs before incurring them, and then track ongoing costs and limit spending according to specific budget requirements. Additionally, Cloud Manager enables application auto-scaling and auto-healing based on user-defined policies. This results in more efficient use of cloud resources and more reliable application or service performance for the organization.



KLH: With this increased network of users throughout organizations that are now using cloud environments, how are you addressing the security needs of our customers in their cloud environment?


JG: Although cloud technology has made tremendous strides to ensure security of data in-transit between clouds, and capabilities like encryption when stored in cloud, this is an absolutely critical area for our customers, and therefore, for us. Dell takes a layered approach to cloud security, utilizing Dell Software, Dell SonicWALL and Dell SecureWorks to ensure security on the full solution without disrupting productivity. We can help customers manage applications securely across private, public and hybrid clouds with Dell Cloud Manager and help them secure access with Dell One Identity Cloud Access Manager. To protect data without disruption as it moves into and out of public clouds, we offer Dell Data Protection Cloud Edition. Customers can simplify provisioning, governance and access control across their cloud environment with Dell One Identity as a Service.



KLH: Thank you for taking time to talk to us about Dell’s Cloud strategy today.


JG: My pleasure …. Anytime.


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