Using vCloud is something of a strategy shift for Dell. It has spent the past year building its own virtualization stack, including its Virtual Integrated System (VIS) and Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) software. It will now be selling those alongside VMware's software.
Customers need to use the same software platform for their private and public clouds, in order to link them together into a hybrid cloud, Bilger said. "But in the future we also want to offer mix-and-match, including our AIM and VIS technologies, and plug those into our public cloud technologies," he said.
Partnering with a big vendor like VMware is important for Dell, said Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies.
"They've recognized that the cloud is a major part of the future of the company," he said. "To succeed, not only do they have to build their own solutions but they also have to team with industry leaders and this is an example of that."
Dell has done better than Kaplan expected at reinventing itself as a software and services company, he said. "I was not a big supporter of the Perot acquisition, but they've really made that work," he said.
The services will be hosted on Dell M610 blade servers, powered by six-core Intel Xeon processors, Bilger said. Dell will deploy the hardware in blocks of 17 racks at a time, with 192 blades and 2,300 physical CPUs, he said.