Dell: Europe is ready for OpenStack

Dell links up with OpenStack and Canonical to offer private cloud builders a complete suite.

Dell is making its OpenStack-based Cloud Solution available in the UK, Germany and China. The combination of the open source cloud software stack with Dell's servers, services, and its Crowbar deployment framework - also open source - has been available from Dell in the US since last year, and is aimed at making it easier for companies to deploy private clouds.

The cloud set-up is based on Canonical's Linux-based Ubuntu Server, and comes with an reference architecture optimised for OpenStack, Dell said. It added that the inclusion of Crowbar means that users can go from "bare metal to multi-node OpenStack clouds in hours, as opposed to days."

Andy Cash, Dell's EMEA director for next generation computing solutions and networking, said that the company was already "very strong in providing cloud infrastructure, especially in hyper-scale Internet data centres," and that OpenStack gave it the opportunity to take its cloud expertise to a broader range of customers, such as financial services and telcos.

"We did some studies, and 70 per cent of our customer base is actively interested in open source cloud deployment," he said. "We think maybe 40 per cent will want to take it into production."

"This is a great opportunity for enterprise customers who want to deploy their own private clouds with the same features and capabilities as public clouds," said Martin Stadtler, director of global support and services at Canonical, writing on his blog. He added: "We have more than two years’ experience of bringing up, deploying and testing OpenStack clouds, in fact, most major public Openstack clouds are built on Ubuntu – for the simple reason that Ubuntu and OpenStack were built to work together."

Cash noted that Dell too has "been part of the OpenStack community since its creation." He continued: "The key with open source is confidence into production – corporates need to see a distribution that is supportable. We want to provide a solid platform that organisations can be confident taking into production, Dell's strength here is its investment in skills, and in the development of rapid adoption tools such as Crowbar."

However, he warned that "OpenStack is still a technology stack, not an appliance. Companies will need open source skills to take this on. You could use it to stand up a cloud with as few as 20 servers, but it is dependent on a certain level of skill. We would expect to be part of a customer project, but we are not intending to run this for people."

And he noted that for those without open source skills, this is not Dell's only cloud offering – among others, it also has a partnership with proprietary cloud stack developer Joyent, he said.