Q&A with Dell's Cary Gumbert

We met with Dell executive Cary Gumbert to find out what the company is doing in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market.

The cloud is one of those terms that means different things to different people. How does Dell define it?

We see it as much broader. Dell plays in a couple of different areas.

One is the physical infrastructure. We have a whole practice around cloud computing where we are designing things like custom hardware for big cloud providers. They are using that technology in a hardware environment.

We also look at virtual desktop, that is another example of the cloud, where we will help customers set them up within there own environment [or] private cloud, so we will do consulting services around it and help them with their specific application.

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And then we have more the application-based cloud services.

Cloud is such a broad word. For us we see this as a huge opportunity as a lot of companies have gone and said yes we can store our data in the cloud and yes it is secure and available. It is a better way of doing it. They have done a lot of the heavy lifting for us. And now we come in and see that expanding into other areas, CRM is one, but adjacent areas too.

We are also seeing that IT managers don't really want to have to worry about this stuff. Keeping our email system up and running is not something that gets you a promotion, it is not strategic to the business, it just has to work. If it ever goes down your job is on the line.

From a customer standpoint, you have got a solution where [they] can still run [their] exchange server in [their] environment, as [they're] not ready for a full hosted solution, but in a 60 second period it can fail over to a Dell server and carry on as normal. It is a very cost effective way and it is almost like a safety blanket to know whether a hurricane comes in or a fire comes in.

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