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Dell erects data centers in '10 countries'

Private clouds only! (except those Dell public clouds)

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Dell is building data centers in as many as ten countries across the globe, including a facility in Australia.

Speaking The Australian, Michael Dell said the company would provide further details in the coming months. This data center expansion, he said, is part of an effort to build so-called "private clouds" on behalf of Dell customers.

"What we're finding is customers want to take advantage of the economics of the public cloud, but they really don't want a public cloud," Dell said. "What they want is a private, secure cloud that has a level of assurance and security with it."

But this is a tad misleading. On Friday, Carfter George, Dell's director of storage strategy, told The Register that the company will offer multiple public clouds along the lines of Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure. The company, as you might expect, is playing both sides of the cloud wars.

A public cloud is a public web service that lets you readily build, test, host, and scale applications. A private cloud mimics this setup, but behind the firewall.

Dell will offer a public "platform cloud" based on the Azure appliance it's building in tandem with Microsoft, and it appears that it will offer a second cloud based on OpenStack, the open source "infrastructure cloud" platform founded by Rackspace and NASA. An infrastructure cloud provides online access to raw computing resources, including processing power and storage, whereas a platform cloud lets you develop and host applications without juggling the underlying resources.

Earlier this year, a tweet from Dell "cloud technology strategist" Logan McLeod said that the company would offer both a public infrastructure-as-a-service cloud and a public platform-as-a-service cloud. "Dell as a public cloud end-to-end service provider?" he tweeted. "Yes. IaaS & PaaS. Coming soon. Dell DC near you."

Michael Dell said that the company's new data center would be use the sort of modular design popularized by the likes of Google and Microsoft. "We're certainly seeing the move away from smaller distributed data centres to larger, more efficient ones (with) multi-tenant type capabilities,” Dell said. “We've created the technology infrastructure to allow that, so highly efficient capabilities like our modular data centre (give us) a seven or eight to one improvement in performance and density as compared with a more traditional approach.

"Layer on top of that the advantages of virtualisation, and you get some huge improvements."

After acquiring Perot Systems, Dell currently runs 36 data centers around the world, and these serve up traditional software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications for more than 10,000 Dell customers. As the company builds its own public clouds in these data centers, it will erect private clouds based on OpenStack as well as software from Joyent (another Dell partner) and possibly other platforms. ®

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