Dell Targets Mainstream Enterprises with Microsoft Azure On-Premises Appliance

Dell is targeting mainstream enterprise datacenters of all sizes with its Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform System that it previously aimed at service providers and big companies.

Company CEO Michael Dell joined Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in introducing the new CPS Standard edition recently in an opening keynote of the annual Dell World conference in Austin, Texas.

While only mammoth organizations operating the biggest datacenters found the the much larger CPS Premium within their reach, the new version will be available in a single rack-based converged system running as few as 100 virtual machines. CPS provides the same functionality as the Microsoft Azure public cloud but brings it on-premises, allowing for hybrid or private clouds based on the same infrastructure.

"We've had a very successful launch of the premium Cloud Platform System and now we're going to democratize it and make it more accessible to every business, any size, by bringing a standard edition," Nadella said. "This really brings hybrid computing to everyone. The combination of the work that we're doing between Azure and CPS, I think is the way to deliver hybrid computing and its future for our customers."

Dell says the CPS Standard edition can be deployed in as little as three hours and like the larger edition, and the public cloud, updates and patching are handled automatically for customers. This new configuration is intended for workloads consisting of 100 to 400 VMs, is a turnkey system consisting of a compute 2U rack loaded with Dell's PowerEdge C6320 server and has networking and storage designed using Microsoft's Storage Spaces are available with hard disk drives and SSDs. It's run with Dell Cloud Manager.

For now, Dell is the only provider of the Azure Cloud Platform System in a single rack, though companies can build their own version using Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. Doing so is expected to become easier next year when Microsoft delivers Windows Server 2016 and the new Azure Stack, which Microsoft has said will bring more complete Azure functionality using the same portal interface than the current Windows Azure Pack.

Those deploying the new CPS Standard before the release of Azure Stack will be able to add on that new capability when it becomes generally available.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.