Dell has just 12 months to matter in the cloud

Dell's current cloud portfolio is insufficient, but a few well-placed bets could make a champ of this dark horse

Dell is now a private company, after a bruising boardroom fight over the struggling maker of PCs, servers, and related IT gear. As an executive of public and private companies, I'm sure the relief of not having to demonstrate quarter-by-quarter growth has lowered the blood pressure of the existing Dell executive team.

So now what? What will Dell 2.0 be to the world of technology and to cloud computing specifically?

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Dell has purchased several strategic cloud-related assets in the last few years, including integration-as-a-service player Boomi and cloud-management platform provider Enstratius. I would count on more purchases to come in the near future as Dell rounds out its strategy and portfolio.

That said, Dell has had little impact in the cloud computing space. Perhaps it was too busy dealing with the distraction of taking a company private, or perhaps it doesn't have the right talent. Now that Dell has gone private, the focus should be on growth, most of which can come from the cloud, if Dell plays its cards right.

One suggestion would be to look at the second-tier IaaS providers that are finding it hard to compete with the likes of Amazon Web Services, Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft; some would be more much competitive if they teamed up with Dell. They won't be cheap, but owning one or two would give Dell a foundation to build from in the cloud. Right now, Dell has a set of very handy tools and some cloud capabilities, but not an integrated offering.

The future of Dell will be determined in the next 12 months. Although that time span seems awfully short, I believe the cloud computing ship will have sailed by then for Dell. The real question whether Dell can get on board before then. Speed is of the essence.

This article, "Dell has just 12 months to matter in the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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