For those keeping score, we launched Direct2Dell back in July 2006. IdeaStorm roared onto the scene in February last year. From there, we began expanding into other languages: Direct2Dell Chinese in March 2007, Spanish in May last year, and Norwegian in September, and there will be more in the future. Most recently, our Investor Relations blog called DellShares went live in November 2007.
From the beginning, the purpose of Direct2Dell has been to educate and to support our customers on a wide variety of topics that they care about. This blog has grown since those early days. And that growth has encouraged more Dell folks to want to have conversations with our customers. Up to now, I've added more categories on Direct2Dell to expand the topics of discussion. That strategy has worked to a point, but now it's time to evolve.
Starting today, members from our Data Center Solutions (DCS) team will support a group blog called In the Clouds. It will focus on cloud computing and the backend server, storage and architecture required to make it work. If you're not familiar with the concept of cloud computing, think using web-based e-mail from Yahoo, Google or AOL (see link for their slick integration with Silverlight), or uploading videos to YouTube, pictures to Flickr, or microblogging with Twitter. When you do those kinds of things you aren't storing them on your local device.. you're storing them "in the clouds," or to a remote location in the Internet.
So, why start with Cloud Computing? The short answer is there's a lot happening in this space right now. Take a look at what Adobe's doing with their AIR product (go Twhirl!) that they recently brought to market. Google continues to surge forward with their Google document apps (Spreadsheet Forms and Google Calendar synch are two recent enhancements that rock), and this week at MIX08, Microsoft is rolling out some cool stuff with Silverlight 2.0 and Internet Explorer 8.
What this all means is that we're at the beginning stages of a shift from the model of the past where applications and all the content created for them were stored locally. This shift has the potential to increase the types of Internet-connected devices we use to consume and create content (check out the good discussion Scoble has going about the battle for web-based content on mobile phones).
So, what does all this have to do with Dell and the kind of content you can expect to see in the cloud computing blog? These web-based activities require reams of server and storage hardware architected around complex custom networks. As such, these environments differ from traditional server/storage environments. Our DCS team's purpose is to help customers make sense of that complexity—see this PDF, or www.dell.com/cloudcomputing for more context. That's the kind of content you can expect from reading Dell's Cloud Computing blog.
If this sounds interesting, I encourage you to subscribe to the Cloud Computing RSS feed. If you'd rather access it directly, go here: