Dell opens cloud computing data center in China

Dell opened a data center in Shanghai this week to host public and private clouds and to provide customers with off-premise application and storage services, the company said Wednesday.

The data center is the first of its kind for Dell in the Asia-Pacific and Japan regions, the company said. Research and development of reference architectures for services tied to the cloud, storage and data movement between systems will also be conducted at the center.

Dell earlier this year said it would invest US$1 billion over the next three years to bolster its cloud, services and data storage offerings. The company said part of the money would go toward opening multiple data centers around the world and establishing facilities to research technologies like cloud computing and virtualization.

Dell in June opened a cloud computing center in Ireland and has centers in Singapore; Frankfurt, Germany; Washington, D.C.; Chicago and Austin, Texas. The company plans to open centers in Paris and Tokyo in a few months, and in Sydney, New York and Sao Paulo in the second half of the year, the company said in a blog entry.

By hosting cloud services, Dell is building out its services portfolio and also giving potential customers an opportunity to evaluate cloud computing models, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Dell has been building its software and hardware portfolio to become a competitive enterprise services provider. Dell has acquired 11 companies in the last two years and is looking to buy more companies to build its intellectual property and product portfolio.

"The hosting service market is a relatively spread out marketplace. Not only does it include IT vendors like IBM, Dell and HP, but it also includes traditional service providers and specialists," King said.

Dell has said the data centers it is building will provide virtual desktop services to centralize and secure data within organizations. The hosting services will be tied to consulting and outsourcing capabilities provided by the company.

The data center could also provide potential clients with the opportunity to see how sample workloads would work in data centers, King said. Dell sells servers built on modular architectures for scale-out environments, and such a data center could help company sell more servers and go deeper into the data center.

"The centers include IT environments that potential customers and developers can use to run test workloads. It's a kind of try-before-you-buy, equivalent of taking a car for a test drive," King said.

Dell has been in the Chinese market for more than a decade, and is trying to expand its enterprise business in the country, King said. The Chinese IT market is growing at a faster rate compared to most other markets today.

"Given the singular role that Shanghai plays in the IT industry, it's a good fit and continuation of what Dell has done for years in the country," King said.

Dell already has offices in Shanghai, including a product design center. The company will hire employees for the new facilities, but did not provide a specific number.

"We don't provide specifics on number of team members working in specific facilities, but yes, we are increasing employment at the site," Frink said.

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