Last year, Dell had ambitious plans to provide cloud solutions in the form of application services. Now, the timeline for implementation of those plans is being revised. The web-based analytics service, supposed to be already up and running for small and medium-sized businesses, is now being promised for early in 2013. "Like a lot of development projects, it can take a bit longer than you think," said Paulette Altmaier, who serves Dell's Cloud Business Applications group as a general manager.
The analytics service is structured to take advantage of the exciting new field of ‘cross-app’ analysis. In this computing paradigm, small and medium-sized businesses transfer data into a central repository online, a repository to be hosted by Dell. Analysis of the data is performed in the cloud. The system is known as ‘cross app’ because the data to be analyzed can emanate from multiple applications. These would be linked together by means of the Dell program Boomi, which belongs to a class of IT solutions that allow for the integration of cloud and local apps.
Another delay concerns the PaaS, or Platform as a Service, system Dell had planned to offer. The PaaS system is intended to run on the Azure platform created by Microsoft. Dell's original announcement about this PaaS offering indicated that it would be launched to SMBs sometime during the 2012 calendar year. As of last Friday, however, a spokesperson for Dell was acknowledging that the company would miss that goal. Rather than announcing a revised release date, she went on to remark that the company currently has no firm delivery date planned at all.
Although some analysts view these delays as setbacks, others are sanguine about the shifting timelines. "The move to the cloud is not a fast journey and for most people it is still largely a future. I would not expect a quarter or two to make a big difference in practical terms," commented Peter Foulkes, a computer industry analyst, who added that many SMBs need additional time in order to transition onto a cloud computing basis.
According to Altmaier, Dell may actually decide to concentrate its initial cloud efforts on developing nations rather than SMBs in the United States. The rationale for this strategy is simple: small businesses in many Third World nations may leap to the cloud more readily since traditional infrastructure is frequently inadequate or completely lacking.