Things we learnt from Dell Technologies World

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Michael Dell opened his company’s annual conference, Dell Technologies World ‒ which was, of course, virtual this year ‒ by talking about how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has never been more central to business and life. 

“Many companies’ three-year digital plans have happened in just three months,” he said. “Technology is the only thing that worked and kept business going.”

He added that ‘work from home’ and ‘learn from home’ had been a launchpad to broaden access to employment as it made job opportunities more widely available. He did, of course, recognise the severe impact on economies, businesses and employees around the world due to the enactment of lockdowns, and the loss of life resulting from the virus.

Dell Technologies has seen strong growth in adoption of its on-demand, ‘as a service’, 30% year on year in Q2, and this has resulted in it launching Project Apex, which unifies on-demand access to storage, servers, networking, hyperconverged infrastructure, PCs and other solutions into a single offering.

An umbrella for Dell Technologies’ IT as a service, Apex includes pay as you use, pay as you go and subscription models. “Project Apex will give our customers choice, simplicity and a consistent experience across PCs and IT infrastructure,” said Jeff Clarke, COO, Dell Technologies.

In addition, the company’s Cloud Console was showcased, which is a single interface that enables the management of cloud offerings from Dell and its partners. It is available as a US-only public preview until Q1 2021, when it is expected to be made available to EMEA. It includes such functions as cost management, and allows administrators to group cloud usage into different business functions, such as HR, marketing or sales.

In addition to cloud, which Michael Dell described as `the way to consume IT for a generation’, Dell Technologies has categorised its offerings across the group into five key technology areas:

  • Edge
  • AI/Machine learning
  • 5G
  • Data management
  • Security

5G, which Michael Dell called ‘the first mobile connectivity of the cloud era’, is expected to play a key role in the Dell line up, in collaboration with subsidiary VMware.

VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger added that, over time, he believes enterprise 5G will replace WiFi globally. In a subsequent media briefing, Gelsinger added that VMware and Dell are taking on 5G as a key focus. He likened the situation to datacentres of the past which relied heavily on separate physical hardware, and had been modernised to become software-defined. This he said was the approach the company was taking to traditional mobile telecommunication infrastructure, and challenging the approach taken by the likes of Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia. “Networking that’s physical and hardcoded isn’t efficient. There’s strong virtualisation needed for a new version of wireless,” he said.

The subject of Dell Technologies’ sale of VMware was also raised. Gelsinger said: “Discussions are in an early phase. We are looking at value creation for all stakeholders, and to benefit them all.”

Michael Dell added: “It’s only the media that are interested in this, when I talk to customers it doesn’t come up.” He says the company is exploring simplifying its capital structure and nothing would change for customers and the joint innovation coming from the two companies.

Michael Dell
Michael Dell

Other announcements

In addition to the above, Dell Technologies announced the following:

1. Dell EMC PowerStore, a storage system that blends automation, next-generation storage media and a novel software architecture.

2. Dell EMC PowerScale, a family of storage systems that set a new standard for how companies capture and manage unstructured data, and Dell EMC PowerFlex, software-defined storage solutions that deliver enterprise-class performance and resiliency for customers’ most critical workloads.

3. Dell Technologies Cloud PowerScale for Google Cloud, which combines Dell’s PowerScale network-attached storage with Google Cloud’s analytics and compute services to handle demanding workloads.

4. Dell supported modern application development and provided an easy path to Kubernetes adoption with VMware Tanzu on Dell EMC VxRail, the only hyperconverged infrastructure that offers a fully integrated Tanzu portfolio. Dell also provided end-to-end data management and protection of Kubernetes workloads with PowerProtect Data Manager.

5. Dell launched Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies, fully supported open source networking solutions developed for cloud-level, large-scale data centre environments.

6. Dell launched the Dell EMC VxRail system designed to sustain extreme temperatures and shock, and the compact, ruggedised Dell EMC PowerEdge XE2420 server that delivers performance and security for analytics applications at the edge.

7. Dell EMC Ready Solutions simplified and scaled AI workloads with self-service access to GPU resources, offering customers ‘AI anywhere’.

8. Dell SafeBIOS Off-Host Verification, delivered with VMware Carbon Black Cloud Audit and Remediation, provided IT and security teams access and visibility to the BIOS health of their Dell PCs wherever employees are working.

9. Dell expanded its PC portfolio with the industry’s first 5G-capable Intel-powered business PC.

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