Dell Cloud service targets retailers

End-to-end service that pairs cloud-hosted applications, such as point-of-sale software, with end-point device management

Dell has released a trial version of public cloud computing services aimed specifically at the retail industry, joining a handful of companies that are attempting to position their products and services to serve specific vertical niches in the cloud computing market.

Dell's Cloud Client Computing for Retail is an end-to-end service that pairs cloud-hosted applications, such as point-of-sale software, with end-point device management. Combined with Dell servers, Dell Wyse thin clients and Dell's public cloud resources, the company is hoping it can make a compelling case for retailers to migrate their in-house hardware and outsourced applications to Dell.

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Dell is not the only company that is attempting to capture business by focusing products and services on a specific vertical industry. Amazon Web Services and Terremark -- Verizon's cloud computing division -- have offerings specifically for federal government agencies. Terremark has an entire division dedicated to government cloud computing. AWS's GovCloud is a separate region that only hosts government clients and is completely isolated form its other regions. Having that logical and physical separation allows organizations, like AWS and Terremark, to receive compliance certifications, such as the federal government's Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Other companies have public cloud computing services for specific industries. HP has marketed certain services within its cloud as being aimed specifically for communications service providers and airlines. A variety of cloud computing companies, particularly those in the New York area, have low-latency, high performance compute resources available for financial service customers. Some have predicted that public cloud computing services for niche industries would catch on -- some have even dubbed the term "community clouds" to describe the process.

Dell isn't even alone in targeting the retail market either. NetSuite and others have retail-focused cloud computing offerings, but Dell is attempting some of that market share.

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Dell's Cloud Client Computing for retail combines management of end point devices, cloud storage, application hosting and a variety of management tools geared specifically for the retail sector, such as point-of-sale (POS) and inventory tracking software. Retailers can also combine other Dell technologies for on-premise hardware to be used in the system, such as Dell Wyse thin clients, PowerEdge Servers and PowerVault storage. Dell is accepting beta customers for the service and plans to roll it out in phases this year, with the full release available in the fall of 2013.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.