Dell's public cloud -- initially scheduled to launch this year -- will run on OpenStack

Dell snuck a bit of news into a wide ranging press release this week and perhaps according to plan it has largely been ignored.

Deep in the very non-newsy press release, Dell slipped this vague but nonetheless telling sentence: "Dell will build its private and public cloud platforms on OpenStack."

That Dell is going with OpenStack for its public cloud is new, even though it's not terribly surprising. In 2011, it said it planned to launch a public cloud based on an open source platform. Since Dell has been a supporter of the OpenStack Foundation and has used OpenStack in private cloud offerings, it would be unusual for it to go with Eucalyptus.

Still, that one sentence buried in the press release brings up a host of questions. For instance, why the delay? When Dell said it would deliver a public cloud service, it said it would do so in 2012. With its OpenStack announcement this week it didn't say when the cloud will launch.

Also, what will happen to Dell's VMware-based cloud? That service runs out of data centers in Texas, Washington and the U.K. It could decide to run both kinds of clouds to serve different customers. Dell's vCloud would likely be pricier but more appealing to some enterprise customers.

I've asked Dell PR for answers to these questions and will update if I hear more. (It's Dell World this week so they get some slack for potentially slow response).

OpenStack is fast becoming the de facto open platform for public clouds that compete with Amazon. HP, IBM, Rackspace, AT&T and others have launched or plan to launch services based on OpenStack. EMC is the newest name to add to that list, with an announcement this week.

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