Dell Tweets Deal to Deliver STaaS – Storage as a Service Offering

A saw a tweet from @DellServices last week that indicates that Dell is now offering cloud storage services as “Dell Cloud Storage with Nirvanix,” which it lists as a “Storage as a Services (STaaS) offering designed to enable the integration of Internet accessible storage into third party storage processes.”

We’ve been following Nirvanix as they are disrupting the storage market with cloud storage.

Here is their latest appearance on theCUBE at VMworld 2012. Scott their CEO rivals Pat Gelsinger in terms of cube appearances.

The implications of this are huge. As David Vellante noted at VMworld, “Dell is dangerous,” simply because it has the resources and the willingness to get on top of new industry trends. Vellante also noted that Dell is now in a position “to do some serious damage in the enterprise storage space,”particularly when you consider that Dell has adopted the STaaS model before its primary storage competitors such as NetApp and EMC.

Dell just got into the petabyte world of STaaS in a big way and it’s obvious this is another aggressive maneuver by the company to redefine itself as a services and solutions powerhouse, a strategy Michael Dell has been architecting for some time now.

Now that Dell has moved to a storage as a service model—its customers have the economically convenient option to buy storage on a as needed basis instead of shelling out hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in upfront costs and paying maintenance fees. This is inevitably the direction all the IT vendors must head to stave off Google, Amazon and Azure in a battle for the next generation enterprise. That Dell is doing this before other storage hardware vendors is an indicator of its continued shift to a more aggressive business strategy—don’t wait, lead.

This is also Dell’s first pay by the drink storage offering. Up to now, Dell has been offering storage as hardware only, such as Compellent, Equalogic, PowerVault, DX Object Storage systems and others that compete with boxes from HP, EMC and IBM. Sure, some of these boxes were positioned as cloud infrastructure, but none of them were offered as STaaS.

With IBM already OEMing Nirvanix cloud technology and now Dell choosing Nirvanix for its managed cloud storage offering, this means that two of the IT heavyweights are relying on Nirvanix for their artillery to take on the likes of other cloud storage service providers and to offer a service that the cloud infrastructure providers—like EMC, NetApp and Hitachi—currently do not.

The software IP that makes Nirvanix’ cloud so valuable for large enterprises like Fox Networks, NBCUniversal, Cisco, USC Digital Repository, Cerner, National Geographic and VMware for multi-petabyte cloud deployments is what’s drawing the big OEMs to offer Nirvanix cloud storage services as part of their own portfolios. As SiliconAngle reported before, nobody else is deploying clouds of this scale at these types of big enterprises.

The battle ground is clearly intensifying in the storage as a service space with Google, Amazon and Azure all pushing their own proprietary IP stacks, which will ultimately force the large IT vendors to come up with a response besides “we sell boxes with cloud labels” or “we aim to be the arms dealers to the cloud providers.” And no, pasting an OpenStack logo on your website does not mean you have a cloud storage offering.

As Rod Boothby, VP of Corporate Development of Joyent tweeted:
@rod11 overheard – “#openstack: What people join when they don’t know what they are doing and they need to say they are ‘in cloud’.”

It will be interesting to watch what NetApp, Oracle, Hitachi and EMC do for their own transition to the inevitable change in the way storage is bought, managed and delivered. STaaS is the logical evolution for customers who have been acquiring physical storage boxes for decades and are eager to shift to a consumption based model.

While one part of HP has bet the farm on OpenStack with HP’s Public Cloud, the storage group has yet to embrace it, so it will be interesting to see what ultimately becomes the storage as a service strategy that all of HP eventually marshalls its resources behind.

As the battle intensifies for enterprise and SMB storage as a service, the vendors with STaaS available now will secure the petabyte-sized footprints at customer sites…and once those petabytes are uploaded to the cloud, they aren’t going anywhere. It’s all about time to market in the world of cloud and big data.

About John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.