A look inside Dell's compute centric strategy

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December marks the beginning of my third month as the new vice president and general manager of Dell Server Solutions.  And what an incredible few months it has been – in September we launched our most advanced PowerEdge server portfolio and it continues to impress customers and partners around the world, and we just wrapped our annual Dell World conference where we demonstrated how our strategy across the enterprise is paying off.  At Dell World we also announced PowerEdge FX2, which is shipping to customers as of today, and is already receiving rave reviews from influencers saying the architecture “could rewrite the book on converged system design.”

As we head into the holiday season and the new year, I thought now would be a good time to outline our strategy.  Now that Dell is a private company we have the opportunity to drive business success in different ways, to be more nimble and make faster decisions and, most importantly, to drive innovation on behalf of our customers.  And that’s just what we’re doing from the server organization – building solutions that are compute-centric and tailored for a variety of uses.                                            

The Server Market Dynamics

In order to drive innovation, it’s important to understand the server market dynamics and how they have changed over the past few years.  If I were to simplify things, I’d say there are four primary market segments that have emerged as major forces in the server market:  First, there are the largest of the large global Internet companies, then there are the companies that aren’t quite hyperscale, but still massive in scale such as Web Tech and HPC, next up is traditional large enterprises, followed by small and medium businesses. 

These server market segments all have their own unique challenges, needs and workload requirements that we’re addressing when bringing new solutions to market.  But there’s also a lot of blurring and best practices being shared across these segments. For example, many IT leaders are looking to adopt the latest application workload paradigms that web giants have pioneered, or trying to gain the advantages of hyperscale technologies achieved by cloud providers.  This is where Dell really is unique.  We helped build the hyperscale space in 2007 and we’re now able to take the learnings from the previous seven years and share them with a broader customer base.

Dell’s Strategy

1)      Introduce compute-centric solutions that address each of the market segments needs and workload requirements.

2)      Leverage the best practices we’ve learned by working with hyperscale and web tech companies, and apply to other market segments in a way that aligns with their business needs.

3)      Enable customers to transform and future-proof their data centers without having to sacrifice their previous investments.

Customer-Inspired Innovations:


PowerEdge FX2 is a great example of our strategy in action.  This solution was inspired by our Data Center Solutions team working with the largest Internet companies in the world.  We found that these Internet companies wanted to keep their IT architecture common, but tweak server, storage and networking for certain workloads like analytics, web serving, etc.  It was from these conversations that the PowerEdge FX architecture was imagined.  Fast forward to today and we have a new approach to converged infrastructure that provides one common, scalable platform with servers, storage and networking integrated to help customers better manage and scale to meet business needs.

Here’s a quick look at some of the other customer-inspired innovations we’ve recently introduced:

  • For customers that need extreme storage density and flexibility as they build out the cloud infrastructure of the future, the DCS XA90 was announced at Dell World as an ultra-dense storage server capable of holding 720TB of data in a single 4U chassis.  In the words of Michael Dell it has “the power of a diesel truck in the form of a Mini Cooper.”
  • In the world of technical computing, customers require optimized density and flexibility for the most demanding workloads.  Announced at SC’14 a few weeks ago, the PowerEdge C4130 was unveiled as the only Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 1U server to support four GPU accelerators.  This HPC purpose-built server provides 33% more acceleration power than competitors and can achieve over 7.2 Teraflops on a single server.
  • Earlier this year, Dell started teaming up with leading enterprise software companies to integrate and optimize Dell infrastructure and management capabilities with some of the most widely deployed applications and workloads in enterprises today. The idea is to simplify the deployment and management of large-scale enterprise applications while ensuring best-in-class performance.  Dell PowerEdge servers are at the core of these appliances, including the Dell XC Series, Dell Engineered Solutions for VMware EVO:RAIL and Dell In-Memory Appliances for Cloudera Enterprise, among others.
  • Then of course there’s PowerEdge VRTX, the first integrated IT solution designed specifically for office environments.  This converged infrastructure solution has been deployed in over 50 countries and 6 continents, and has received 24+ awards, with almost half being product of the year awards.

Closing

Bottom line is we have a new spirit inside Dell.  We’ve evolved.  We’re growing our enterprise business by leveraging the power of our server business. We’re driving new innovations in our core server portfolio with more integrated technologies and management capabilities.  We have a thoughtful approach to address the market with compute-centric solutions and a strategy that is already resonating with customers and partners.

The world is becoming more compute centric and software driven, and I’ve been energized by all the feedback I’ve received from those in the industry who share this vision. We look forward to leveraging the strength of our server heritage to our strategic advantage in 2015 and for years to come.

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