Dell may wait until end of year to launch OpenStack public cloud

Hopes to base public cloud on OpenStack technology, but exec says platform isn't quite ready

Dell may wait until the end of this year to launch its anticipated OpenStack-powered public cloud, a vice president with the company told Network World sister site ITWorld, a move that puts the company behind other big-name vendors that are already executing on their cloud strategies.

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Nnamdi Orakwue, Dell's vice president of cloud, told ITWorld's Nancy Gohring that the OpenStack platform - which Dell hopes to use as a base for its public cloud - is "not where it needs to be." Instead of prematurely launching a public cloud service based on nascent technology - which he says rival HP has done - Dell will wait until later this year to launch its public cloud services.

Dell already has a VMware-based multi-tenant public cloud named Dell vCloud, which is hosted in its own data centers, but this new product that could be launched later this year would be based on an open-source platform instead of VMware.

If Dell waits until the end of this year to launch an OpenStack public cloud, it will be behind some of the other big names of the OpenStack project in launching a public cloud service though. Rackspace, an original founding member of the OpenStack project, has had an OpenStack powered public cloud up and running since August of 2012. HP launched a public beta of its OpenStack-powered cloud late last year as well. IBM has joined the OpenStack project but has not made any announcements of a public cloud offering yet either.

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Orakwue was critical of HP's cloud strategy, saying that because of the immaturity of OpenStack's code, HP has had to innovate significantly on top of it to launch its cloud. Dell's strategy, he says, will be to stay more closely aligned with the OpenStack code so that users of the open source technology will be able to easily connect their on-premise OpenStack clouds with Dell's public cloud.

Dell has been an early supporter of the OpenStack project; one of the company's principal architects, Rob Hirschfeld, sits on the OpenStack Board of Directors. Thus far, Dell has focused its efforts mostly on private cloud OpenStack deployments, which it encourages users to run on Dell servers using Crowbar, a tool that provides reference architecture to simplify cloud deployments. For public cloud services, Dell has partnered with companies such as Rackspace, and has made its system compatible with APIs from Amazon Web Services. A public cloud offering that the company could roll out later this year would provide that capability natively, without the need to rely on partners. This year, OpenStack backers hope to release two new versions of its code, one in the spring and another in the fall.

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that Dell already has a VMware-powered public cloud.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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