Dell Cloud Marketplace: More Than Another Cloud Services Mall?

Michael Dell has finally pulled back the curtain on Dell Cloud Marketplace, an online mall of sorts where customers can choose from a range of third-party cloud services, consolidate billing, and monitor all of the online apps and services from a single dashboard.

The big question: Is Dell Cloud Marketplace -- currently in beta -- truly innovative? Or is it a "me-too" cloud mall, arriving years after similar options like Ingram Micro Cloud (which I used to cover during my channel days at Talkin' Cloud) and even the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

Regaining Focus

Either way, Dell is in catch-up mode. Dell in 2013 killed its own public cloud platform development, preferring instead to partner on public clouds while also selling integrated private cloud bundles (hardware and software stacks) to corporate customers. At the time, Michael Dell was also extremely busy with the company's highly contested private equity buyout deal.

One year after the move to go private, Dell enjoys the fact that he's no longer distracted by the "90-day shot clock" -- his term for quarterly earnings announcements. And at this week's Dell World conference, the company unveiled a range of new innovations -- proving that the folks in Austin, Texas, have spent the past year heads-down on some nifty developments.

Will I.T. Entrepreneurs Sign On?

Let's assume you're building an I.T.-centric company. Chances are, your business will need to plug into numerous third-party cloud services -- CRM, ERP, email, marketing automation, expense report management, IaaS... and the list goes on.

In theory, cloud aggregation services give you a single window from which to manage all of those cloud services. But in practice, cloud aggregation platforms have been hit and miss.

  • They're only as good as the number of platforms they support.
  • Some aggregation services go narrow and deep (only a handful of platform integrations, but those integrations are incredibly rich.)
  • Others only go wide and shallow (support for dozens of platforms, but the integration to each platform is a "least common denominator" approach that doesn't offer much power to the user.

Tastes Great, Less Filling

The big question: Can Dell Cloud Marketplace strike the right balance -- supporting just enough third-party cloud services while giving customers a rich, comprehensive dashboard linked to each service?

I don't have a complete answer to that question yet. Dell says the marketplace curates a range of services; offers one-click install; centralized management and control; consolidated billing and phone support from 8am ET to 8pm ET. 

We'll be watching to see how the beta unfolds.

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