Several months ago in the press release that announced our Cloud Solution offerings, there was a particularly cloudy paragraph that talked about Dell’s relationship with Microsoft.  The paragraph ended with the sentence: “Dell and Microsoft will collaborate on the Windows Azure platform, with Dell and Microsoft offering services, and Microsoft continuing to invest in Dell hardware for Windows Azure infrastructure.”  What the heck did that mean?  Well today we can be a bit clearer.

Dell PaaS Cloud based on Windows Azure

Earlier this morning at Microsoft’s Worldwide partner conference, the giant of Redmond announced the limited production release of the Windows Azure technology for a select few tech giants.  Dell is one of these and will be taking this technology and creating ourselves a Platform as a service (PaaS) cloud.  We will in turn use this cloud to deliver both public and private cloud services to customers looking to develop and deliver next generation cloud services based on .Net.   This platform will be targeted at enterprise, public, small and medium-sized business customers as well as be used by Dell itself.

But wait, there’s more: Azure in a box

Dell and Microsoft are also working on a Dell-powered Windows Azure platform appliance.  (Don’t let the term “appliance” throw you, you can’t register for this and it really represents 100s or 1000s of servers).  Dell will be making this turnkey cloud platform available to enterprises to enable them to set up their own PaaS clouds within their organizations.  Dell has a bit of a leg up here since we’ve been working with Microsoft on Azure as the primary infrastructure partner since its launch back in ’08.  We’re simply packaging this “winning combination” and providing it in a turnkey package for internal use by enterprises.

A little context: adding to our cloud portfolio

So how does this fit in with some of the other cloud solutions that we have announced?  At a high-level, Dell is providing cloud solutions to help customers take either evolutionary or revolutionary approaches to building out clouds (we actually believe customers will do both). You can learn more about this distinction here, but basically evolutionary is the idea of retrofitting traditional enterprise applications to run in the cloud.  Revolutionary is based on the idea of developing new “cloud-native” apps in the cloud to be deployed in the cloud.

We have already been working with Microsoft to offer evolutionary cloud services based on Microsoft’s Hyper V platform, we are now complementing that with a revolutionary Windows Azure appliance.  This turnkey PaaS cloud platform will be in addition to the turnkey PaaS cloud platform that we announced with Joyent.   Whereas the Joyent-based offering, “the Dell cloud solution for web applications” is targeted at folks developing in Java, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby on Rails etc. the Azure appliance will naturally be targeted at the .Net world.

Stay tuned for more news!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…