Dell might have canceled its plans for a public-cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering, but the company clearly doesn’t want to leave the cloud space: its new Dell Cloud for U.S. Government will offer federal agencies a secure platform of cloud-based infrastructure and services.
In addition to IaaS, Dell Cloud for U.S. Government includes Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) features. Clients can opt for single- or multi-tenant environments. On the security-and-compliance front, Dell’s offering apparently meets the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-53 criteria, as well as Department of Defense (DoD) 8500 for Federal Information Security Act (FISMA) Low and Moderate, HIPPA, and NIACAP.
“This is not an adaption of an old business, slapping some controls and automation on it and calling it a day,” Jeff Lush, CTO of Dell Services Federal Government, told SlashCloud in an interview. The federal government, not exactly a homogeneous and streamlined institution, demanded a cloud platform capable of many things. “We needed dedication for flexibility and multi-tenant, business process and security,” he said. “They wanted some of their cloud resources in-house, and many were okay with sharing it in a multi-tenant setup.”
Like all cloud platforms, flexibility was also a key factor. “This was a customer who wanted to deploy this in the middle of the desert in the back of a Humvee,” Lush said. “We wanted to make sure we could scale down this low.”
In theory, Dell has taken all those requirements and produced a platform where federal agencies can host sensitive data and high-performance applications on the cloud architecture of their choice. The reference architecture for the solution is available now.
Despite the demise of its public-cloud strategy, Dell continues to build out private-cloud offerings. In addition to this platform for the federal government, the company offers Dell Cloud Dedicated Service, a private-cloud initiative based on the open-source OpenStack, an IaaS platform developed by Rackspace and NASA in 2010.
While Dell has never confirmed the reasons behind its decision to shy away from the public cloud, TechCrunch suggested in a May article that “internal forces at Dell and the pressures of the company going private have caused company executives to rethink the public cloud route.” Whatever the motive, Dell discontinued in-house multi-tenant public cloud IaaS in favor of partner offerings; the partners in question include Joyent, ScaleMatrix, and ZeroLag.