In that sense, Dell syndicating Nirvanix's public cloud storage is merely filling out the company's product portfolio, he says. Dell wants to be able to serve any type of cloud customer, from the services providers that may leverage Caringo to create their own cloud, to large enterprises looking to try out OpenStack by using Crowbar, a framework Dell created to more easily launch OpenStack-powered clouds . "They've tried everything," Brooks says. "But (they) aren't Amazon, and they don't want to forever be third runner-up to IBM and HP, so they found something they can do well, which is sell you lots of different stuff in a very easy fashion."
So does the Nirvanix deal mean that Dell has given up on plans to create its own Amazon-style cloud? Dell representatives did not reply to a request for comment on the Nirvanix news, but Brooks doubts the company could justify the large investments required to build up the massive data center infrastructure it would take to compete head-to-head with Amazon and other IaaS players.
But Reichman, of Forrester, wonders if there could be a market for Dell to compete on the IaaS layer in the cloud.
"The cloud has to live in a data center somewhere," he says. "If Dell is just going to be an arms dealer reselling services from others, they're missing an opportunity while Amazon will just continue to grow by leaps and bounds." Plus, he adds the current mish-mash platform Dell has put together does not seem ideal for customers. Renting servers from Dell and having your object storage hosted by Nirvanix is not as cohesive as going to Amazon Web Services and having your Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) linked automatically with Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Simple Storage Service (S3), which are all hosted in the same data center, he says.
Some have expected bigger moves from Dell based on its string of acquisitions during the past few years. Two years ago Dell bought Boomi, a software company that helps ease cloud migrations, while this year alone the company bought Wyse, SonicWall and Quest, the latter of which for $2.4 billion. Meanwhile, some of the company's other moves in the cloud have been postponed or abandoned. Last year, for example, the company said it would offer an online analytics service, but that has been delayed until early next year, a company spokesperson told the IDG News Service this summer. The company announced plans for a platform as a service (PaaS), but the spokesperson said there is no longer an expected delivery date for that offering now.