Rolling out $1 Billion of Virtualization

A Q&A with Paul Prince, CTO of the Dell Enterprise Product Group.

Dell Inc. recently announced its intention to spend $1 billion on new virtualized datacenters and solutions designed to enhance the company's cloud computing functionality and provide best-of-breed virtualization capabilities to customers. Editor in Chief Bruce Hoard talked to Paul Prince, CTO of the Dell Enterprise Product Group, about this large-scale commitment.

VR: How are users driving Dell's thrust into virtualization and cloud computing?
Prince: CEOs are recognizing that IT can be very strategic to the business and they're looking for CIOs who can drive that change for them. So it's really a big, big shift in focus for customers who are now trying to move up the stack, if you will, so that they don't have to worry about the bits, bytes, nuts and bolts of running their infrastructures. They need it to be more efficient than it has ever has been.

"CEOs are recognizing that IT can be very strategic to the business and they're looking for CIOs who can drive that change for them."
Paul Prince, CTO, Enterprise Product Group, Dell Inc.

VR: How will Dell provide a best-of-breed virtualization and cloud computing experience to its customers?
Prince: If I'm at an OEM and I say, "I'm going to have everything integrated with me, and I'm going to own every piece of the solution," that ends up being the easiest solution to engineer because you own every piece. It's actually more effort to work with a partner and integrate their technology effectively. But what I believe is that ultimately working with partners gets you to best-of-breed in the industry, and I've been around long enough to know that it's impossible to hire all of the smartest guys at one company. So if you're trying to do it all yourself, you're missing out on some of the best minds in the industry that belong to the other guys you didn't hire. So being open, which is our approach, is a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, it's better for customers because, one, the solution over time is continuously refreshed with best-of-breed input from the industry; second, it keeps customers in a situation where they're not locked into a vendor. We're not going to lock our customers in; we're going to earn their business on a continuing basis.

VR: Dell is going with Hyper-V and System Center, correct?
Prince: We actually support heterogeneous hypervisor environments from both VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V, along with the ability for customers to move workloads between those environments. We're not trying to replace the tools customers are used to -- management tools such as System Center or vCenter -- but what we do with our ingredients like Advanced Infrastructure Manager, or AIM, is we plug into those tools to add value so the solution is better with Dell AIM in an ESX environment or a vCenter environment or a System Center environment.

VR: What's Dell's position on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
Prince: We have services to help customers deploy VDI and we also are offering some back-end hosted services, so if people want to have their VDI back-end in the cloud hosted by Dell, we have that offering as well. But we're very strong supporters and deployers and services providers of what our customers need to get to VDI.

VR: With VDI not being Microsoft's strength, does that lead you into a deeper relationship with Citrix?
Prince: What we announced was that we have relationships with both VMware and Citrix. On the client side, the Desktop as a Service side, we already have a relationship with Citrix and that's pretty strong and ongoing. Now, obviously in the datacenter back-end, not so much. So we're certainly doing a lot to help our customers deploy VMware because that's what most of them are doing or want to do.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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