Talk about swimming against the current. As much of the world rides the cloud computing tidal wave, Dell is suggesting that no business is too small to buy its first server. I respect Dell but I've got to respectfully disagree with Dell's SMB server assertion.

In Dell's defense, the company has acquired and launched a range of cloud services and managed services. And no doubt, on-premise servers will remain popular for years to come. In the SMB sector, Dell says nearly 3,500 U.S. small businesses have embraced Dell First Server solutions since the offerings launched in 2010. So far, so good. The Dell First Server marketing effort sounds like a good way to get small businesses talking about potential on-premise IT investments.

Reality Check


But a Dell blog suggesting No Business Is Too Small for a First Server seems to stretch the truth, at least in my mind. Back in December, TalkinCloud noted that Karl Palachuk -- CEO of KPE Enterprises Business Consulting -- predicted that 90 percent of small businesses had purchased their last server. Palachuk's statement is noteworthy because he keeps close tabs on the Microsoft small business market. More recently, he's assisted the Intel Hybrid Cloud effort, which connects the dots between on-premise hardware and cloud services.

Within our own company -- roughly 15 contributors and consultants scattered across North America -- I can't imagine purchasing a server. We're all using smart endpoints (notebooks, smartphones, tablets) to link to hosted and cloud services. I suspect most start-up businesses are pursuing a similar cloud-first, operational expense (OPEX) strategy.

I'm not predicting the death of servers. Plenty of established small businesses prefer on-premise options. But I keep coming back to that Dell headline: No Business Is Too Small for a First Server. In the age of cloud computing I respectfully disagree.

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