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Dell and Microsoft team up to solve hybrid cloud complexity

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on November 25, 2015 by Emily A. Davidson

The potential of hybrid-cloud is no longer outweighed by the complexity of its challenges.

Nine out of ten decision-makers say a hybrid cloud strategy is critical for a future-ready enterprise. However, the process of putting both the software and hardware together to build and manage a partially on-premise, partially off-premise solution is complex. There are layers of potential issues and together they form a barrier to hybrid cloud adoption.

Despite its complexity, businesses are actively investing in the cloud
Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index revealed 55% of organizations around the world will use more than one type of cloud. In addition, Business Cloud News published a survey that indicated 22% of respondents dedicated more than 20% of their 2014 fiscal-year budgets to achieving convergence, virtualization, and private cloud – with saving money as the top driver for the investment.

The reality of implementing cloud is daunting and difficult
I’m not going to sugar coat this, because the sweet benefits of cloud adoption come with a slightly bitter aftertaste. There will be downtime, application integration, patch management and a large migration project to plan for. You will need to enlist an IT adviser well-versed in which vendor solutions play nicely together. It’s going to be expensive. And there is no true guarantee of security.

“Customers tell us their cloud journey is too complex, the cost-risk is too high and control isn’t transparent,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager of engineered solutions and cloud at Dell.

It seems the potential of hybrid cloud is being outweighed by its challenges
There is no shortcut, no get-out-of-jail-free card. Hybrid clouds are notoriously difficult to design, integrate, manage, monitor and secure. Unless your workloads are well understood, it will create friction between siloed IT groups and generate cost spikes that drain expected savings away.

I haven’t covered data protection, privacy, performance, reliability, service and data integration, regulatory compliance, service availability or cost uncertainty. The big question is, how do you choose which operations stay on-premise, and which are more secure in a virtualized environment? Can your provider handle a large volume of requests? Have you considered load testing for expected and spiked demand?

As you can see, the potential of hybrid cloud is often outweighed by the complexity of its challenges.

What happens when two tech giants offer the first modular hybrid cloud solution
Well this just got interesting. Two tech giants team up together and solve for an industry-wide anxiety around hybrid cloud adoption.

Don’t be fooled, this exchange between two fierce competitors did not come without its side jabs, especially at Dell World 2015, when Michael Dell told Satya Nadella that the prices of its hardware (the Surface) are “pretty high.”

When asked by the moderator if the two CEOs were friends or ‘frenemies,’ Michael Dell responded, “We’re absolutely friends.” However, he continued that customer needs drive the alliances his company forges – and customers want Microsoft.

Introducing: Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft
Hybrid cloud is a computing environment which uses a mix of on-premises applications or equipment, private cloud, and public cloud services while coordinating or orchestrating resources between the two platforms.

Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft

The Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft combines servers, storage and software in an integrated box and connects easily to Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, breaking through the hybrid cloud adoption barriers of complexity, cost and control. Clients are promised minimal downtime with non-disruptive, fully automated system updates that don’t impose themselves on users when not needed.

This system has the unique ability to account for system-level non-disruptive patch and update management; enabling continuous operations. This may resonate with mid-market clients looking for a tongue-in-groove solution to move to cloud, since this system favors pre-configuration over customization.

How partnering up soothes the hybrid-cloud anxieties of cost and complexity
This solution is Dell servers and networking switched, coupled with pre-configured CPS software from Microsoft. CPS Standard currently includes Windows Azure Pack, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 and is ready to install Microsoft Azure Stack in 2016.

“It brings simplified, automated deployment and maintenance capabilities, a unique payment solution to reduce customer investment risk, and unparalleled hybrid cloud governance, control and policy-based automation for Microsoft Azure and other cloud environments,” Dell said.

What you get with Dell Hybrid System for Microsoft
You can start with four servers, and grow up to 16 physical nodes in a single system. The basic configuration is enough to run about 100 virtual machines, and the system can scale to support about 400. The real sweet spot of this solution is that it runs on the same software stack that Microsoft uses in its public cloud, making it simple for on-premise and cloud components to speak to each other.

Clients can rent Cloud Platform System Standard from Dell for US$9,000 a month. That ‘starter pack’ includes a Dell PowerEdge C6320 Rack Server, two top of rack switches and 64TB of storage. The system comes loaded with Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and the Windows Azure Pack.

A rental option makes it easy for smaller companies to deploy, as it reduces the investment risk. After six months, clients can purchase the system outright, extend the same payment setup for another six months. Dell will provide support for the entire system.

If you want to be an early adopter, you already run Dell hardware, or you’re a Microsoft SPLA or Azure client who doesn’t have a hybrid cloud solution, this is arguably the most stress-free way to play in the hybrid cloud sandbox.

In short, Its the industry’s first integrated, modular hybrid cloud solution, offering unparalleled hybrid cloud governance, control and policy-based automation for Azure and other cloud environments.

Why Softchoice is among the first to offer Dell Hybrid Cloud for Microsoft
In my opinion, Softchoice was selected first and foremost because of our people. With dedicated support for both Dell and Microsoft technologies, paired closely with an assessment-led approach to IT projects, our people genuinely want to help clients build the best possible IT infrastructure.

“When delivering Microsoft solutions, Softchoice wants to ensure we bring the best fit to our clients’ needs,” said Craig McQueen, Director of Softchoice’s Microsoft Practice. “The Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft CPS fills the gap for businesses that need a hybrid environment and we are delighted to be leading this conversation with our customers.”

“Softchoice was selected as an early adopter of the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft CPS because of our deep expertise delivering Microsoft, Dell and hybrid IT solutions,” said Mark Connell, Director Business Development, Datacenter, at Softchoice. “No-one is better positioned than Softchoice to drive the implementation of a hybrid cloud system that integrates the best of Microsoft and Dell into one cohesive, agile infrastructure.”

Softchoice is a Dell National Solution Provider and was recently named Dell Canada’s Channel Partner of the Year for Dell’s 2016 fiscal year. Softchoice is also the #1 Microsoft cloud partner in Canada, #3 in the United States (based on revenue) and a designated Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider.

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