May 6, 2013 – Dell took another step toward delivering a full range of cloud computing capabilities with the acquisition Monday of cloud management software and as-a-service vendor Enstratius.

Enstratius offerings cover key management and encryption, access controls, automation, financial controls and APIs, across public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. Its cloud software supports 20 private and public cloud platforms including OpenStack, VMware, AWS, Azure and Rackspace.

In a statement on the deal for privately held Enstratius, Dell pointed to the increasing need for management over cloud environments, as well as its complementary capabilities from Gale Technologies, which Dell purchased at the end of 2012.

“As enterprises increase their use of public, private and hybrid clouds, the need for controls, security, governance and automation becomes more critical,” said Tom Kendra, VP and GM, systems management, Dell Software, in a statement.

Minneapolis-based Enstratius began in 2003 with a marketing platform under the name Valtira. The vendor shifted to cloud management after the release of its Enstratius suite in 2007 (originally as enStratus), which was developed as an in-house tool for monitoring and managing cloud actions.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dell stated it plans to keep Enstratius’ employees and invest in “additional” engineering and sales to expand its business.

Forrester Research Infrastructure and Operations Analyst Dave Bartoletti wrote in a blog on the deal that there is some uncertainty with how Enstratius’ cloud management capabilities will come to use compared with others in Dell’s existing stack or from its M&A activity over the last few years. However, the agnostic nature of the Enstratius management offering atop a public or private environment gives Dell a better app-first approach on the cloud, the analyst said. And the deal hints at a wider wave of cloud management acquisitions.

“The cloud management land grab is on. It took a few years longer for all the early independent virtualization management vendors to get swallowed up,” Bartoletti wrote. “Who will be left by the end of the year?”

Aiming to expand on the cloud and services side of its business, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell announced recently a joint effort with open source software provider SUSE on an OpenStack-powered cloud infrastructure offering. And in March, its Boomi division launched its cloud resource for midlevel businesses looking to operate master data management practices in a “hybrid environment.”

Dell has been quiet on the acquisition front so far in 2013, as the vendor itself remains in private buyout discussions led by its founder and CEO, Michael Dell. Its founder’s $24.4 billion offer for the company has prompted public speculations on other investors and vendor direction.

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