April 7, 2011 – Dell is putting $1 billion toward the cloud over the next two years in the form of data centers, customer service outposts and new solutions.

Dell announced Thursday it would spend that money over the next fiscal year building multiple eco-friendly data centers around the world for customer access to outsourcing capabilities and public and private cloud technology. The data centers will focus on infrastructure, platform, and virtual desktop as a service, as well as data storage and disaster recovery backup, according to a news release.

It’s a necessary move if Dell wants to stay competitive in the space, says Gartner research vice president Rakesh Kumar. Kumar says that Dell has some knowledge in data center design and development but trails rivals IBM and HP. Kumar says the innovation that comes from the centers will ultimately prove Dell’s success or failure with the investment.

“The amount being spent may seem like a lot, but data centers are expensive and new green technology with high amounts of cloud-enabled flexibility adds to the costs, so the money will go quickly,” Kumar says. “Bottom line is that this is an essential investment if Dell wishes to stay competitive in the cloud data center market.”

During the next 18 months, Dell plans to open 22 “global solution centers” where customers can learn about the company’s products and develop individualized data center solutions. Along with the cloud and solution centers, Dell launched new virtualization adoption, data management and email archiving solutions.

Steve Schuckenbrock, Dell Services president, called the moves a significant investment in the company’s roadmap for cloud-based customer attraction and solution development in the “Virtual Era.”

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