This week, Dell announced that it will acquire Enstratius, a company with solutions to centralize management of cloud services. And, even though the intent to acquire was just announced, the logo of Enstratius' web site has already changed.

No matter where a cloud might be hosted, Amazon.com or Rackspace, on-premise or in the public cloud, Enstratius provides the dashboard to manage them all. In addition to the management and automation piece, Enstratius also offers analysis services to optimize the cloud based on price point and performance.

Dell has definitely been in a buying mood.  It acquired Quest Software last year, and based on the huge number of products that Quest had in its portfolio, one would think Dell had all it needed. The unfortunate thing, based on conversations with Dell VPs at DellWorld in December 2012, is that the Quest acquisition was tougher than originally idealized. Quest's large cache of products was unmanaged and many uninventoried. One Dell individual described finding a cool, Quest-developed solution a few months after acquisition that no one knew anything about. I'm sure they're still finding hidden gems, however it appears that once Dell finally dug to the back wall of the acquisition, they had more needs.

The acquisition of Enstratius gives us deeper insight into Dell's plans. As exhibited at DellWorld 2012, Dell wants to become a Cloud company. They want to be able to compete with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others in the Cloud space. In reality, Dell may be the only company to actually pull it off.

Why?

Dell has the one piece that the others don't – the hardware. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others still need hardware to spin VMs and provide connections. Dell started with the hardware and is now throwing the software pieces at it. Eventually, they will have the total solution.

The next few months should be interesting. Let's hope that the Enstratius acquisition is smoother than the Quest one. Dell is definitely a company to watch in the Cloud space. I'll be watching for sure. We could one day all be hosting our data in the Dell Cloud, and Dell could have actually fundamentally changed their business from PC-oriented to Cloud focused. Unfortunately, if these two things don’t happen, Dell is doomed.