Dell outlines a transition to the cloud at Dell World 2011

Keynote discusses $1 billion investment in technology solutions, extending Dell's reach into data center, cloud environments

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He also signaled out Boomi, a pure SaaS application integration platform, as a key player in the company's new strategy. Boomi allows customers to integrate multiple cloud services into a single solution by allowing easy transfer of data between cloud-based and on-premise applications with no appliances, no software, and no coding required.

Dell described Boomi by saying, "It's a very interesting space for us -- it's right at the cutting edge of how you make a cloud service deployable and practical."

Research and analyst firm Gartner describes the public cloud as one of the "hottest topics in IT" today. The firm claims that spending on public cloud services is growing four times faster than overall IT spending, with a forecast of $89 billion being spent this year and $177 billion being spent by 2015.

Dell is going after its own slice of this market. The company announced it was getting busy in its global data center expansion in an effort to better support its growth into cloud computing services. To that end, they are committed to building 10 new data centers around the world and will be standing up these data centers within the next 24 months. These data centers will be housing public and private cloud capabilities on behalf of their customers.

Dell has already announced plans to open a new data center facility in Slough, a suburb in London. During Dell World, the company disclosed plans to build another major new cloud hosting facility in Quincy, a major hub for data centers in the state of Washington.

In order to reach its 24-month time frame, the data centers are expected to be largely modular in design. Modules can be housed inside lightweight, affordable structures and will house a wide range of densities, workloads, and technologies. This modular design was highlighted at Dell World and was very well received by audience members.

The company said its cloud offerings will target all three tiers of the cloud market, which includes infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) with the latter also including a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering.

Dell's cloud strategy will also target private clouds with Dell's recently launched vStart technology, something more easily described as a "cloud in a rack" solution, which is similar in nature to perhaps the more commonly known Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).

Dell vStart leverages preconfigured Dell servers, storage, and networking -- racked and stacked and loaded up with blocks of hundreds or thousands of VMs so that an enterprise customer can quickly and easily build out its own private cloud environment. These pre-populated and configured racks are then rolled into place at the customer's data center location and come with Dell professional services for easy setup and deployment and quick enablement.

If it wasn't well understood before, Dell World made it clear -- the cloud and virtualization aren't just transforming end-user computing, they're also changing Dell. And they are becoming much more interesting to watch as a result.

This article, "Dell outlines a transition to the cloud at Dell World 2011," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in virtualization at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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