For Michael Dell, the journey from the company he started out of his dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 to standing on the stage of Dell EMC World in front of 8,000 people this week has been a “long, strange trip.” Today, Dell Technologies is the largest enterprise systems company in the world, and Dell can’t wait to provide the infrastructure for the new, connected world that’s being built around us. “It’s the sunrise of a new era,” he said on Wednesday. “A digital dawn.”
Our physical reality, Dell said, is transforming into a digital reality, and businesses aren’t sure what their industries will look like in just a few years. Dell wants to be the trusted provider of essential infrastructure for the “next Industrial Revolution,” where digital technologies such as deep learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing will once again change the way the world does business. “You go to bed an industrial company,” Jeff Immelt of GE said in a video, “and wake up as a software and analytics company.” Every company is now a tech company.
Cloud technology is a big part of Dell’s vision of the future, but he sees a world where users can shift seamlessly between on-prem, public cloud, converged systems and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) as needed depending on the use case. “Everything is on a journey to the hybrid cloud,” he said.
The company has a three-step plan to bring that vision home: modernize existing infrastructure, automate systems and transform IT operations to deliver like a service provider. The range of technology brought under the Dell Technologies umbrella with the recent merger of Dell and EMC means the company is positioned to implement that plan and provide “world class technology—democratized by Dell.” And this week was packed with new product announcements that fall in line with that strategy, utilizing elements from across the Dell Technologies family.
In the spirit of the new “software-defined everything” world, Dell EMC announced a new software-defined version of Dell EMC Data Domain protection storage delivering increased scalability and support for Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers, along with new cloud-enabled software updates to help protect applications and data in the modern data center. There’s also a new addition to the Isilon family that combines flash technology and Dell EMC’s scale-out NAS platform and an expanded converged infrastructure portfolio, as well as a new hyper-converged infrastructure offering called VxRACK, which David Goulden, President of Dell EMC’s Infrastructure Solutions Group, called VxRAIL’s big brother.
Bringing VMware’s tech into the Dell portfolio will, Dell says, enable a software-defined approach to data center operations and make the entire infrastructure programmable and automated. The company unveiled an Endpoint Data Security and Management portfolio that blends tech from Dell, Mozy, RSA and VMware AirWatch to provide data protection, backup and recovery, identity assurance, threat prevention and advanced response, and endpoint device and application management capabilities.
To support the transformation of IT operations to an as-a-service model, Dell outlined a vision in which users can shift workloads between the public cloud and on-prem infrastructure, while securely allowing flexibility in device, location and network connection to accommodate the new workforce. “Work is an activity, not a location,” said Jeff Clarke, Vice-Chairman of Operations and President of Client Solutions at Dell EMC. “You don’t go to work, you do work.” Virtustream will be integral to that strategy, as well as VMware partnerships with public cloud providers like AWS. The company also released a new open platform analytics solution called the Analytic Insights Module that bundles hardware, software and services into one platform for big data analytics and cloud native application development.