When Worlds Coalesce

The outcome of the megamerger of two companies, Dell and EMC, was evident at their recent event, Dell EMC World 2017, in Las Vegas

Photo Credit : Brian Pereira, Dell EMC, Brian Pereira, Brian Pereira, Brian Pereira,

Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Michael Dell, Chairman & CEO, Dell Technologies
Michael Dell, Chairman & CEO, Dell Technologies
Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May.
Playing Servercraft in the expo
Playing Servercraft in the expo

There was no better place than Las Vegas to experience the merger of two large IT giants: Dell and EMC. The two companies held a joint event for customers, partners, press, analysts, developers and everyone else in their ecosystem – Dell EMC World 2017, Las Vegas, 8 – 11 May. All brands in the Dell Technologies stable (Dell, EMC, Pivotal, Virtustream, VMware, SecureWorks, RSA) were represented at this conference. And what an event it was: Over 13,500 attendees from 122 countries; 310 press, analysts and influencers; 300 code and modern ops sessions, 40 plus leadership sessions, 400 plus technical sessions; 900 press and analyst briefings.

Realize Your Digital Future

The theme for the event was simply “Realize your digital future” or about making IT transformation real. It was all about four types of transformations: Digital Transformation, IT Transformation, Workforce Transformation and Security Transformation. Dell Technologies wants to make this transformation real for its customers and partners. And it outlined the roadmap for its products and services that realize this transformation.

Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies welcomed delegates and spoke about his company’s accomplishments and its customers. He also explained why digital transformation is so crucial to the company.

“CEOs have moved beyond the need to be convinced that there is a digital transformation. They see digital disruption everywhere; transformation is tremendous and they are looking for a strategy and a partner to help them along this journey,” said Dell. “The business sees technology as a key enabler for every growth strategy and every productivity initiative. CEOs want their companies to become technology companies. Every business unit wants to become a platform.”

Dell spoke about the need to have a strategy for IoT, cloud, security and the workforce. And hence the four transformations that are woven into the event theme.

It was interesting to learn how Dell is helping customers with digital transformation. Customers who told their stories via video were Boeing, Jaguar Land Rover, Express Scripts, and Sony Pictures. Dell is also doing some social innovation and providing the enabling technologies and support to the American Red Cross and Ocean Plastics.  

Dell Leadership Speaks

David Goulden, President, Dell EMC outlined the roadmap for digital transformation.

“There are three simple steps: first you modernize the data center, with modern infrastructure. Second, you automate the delivery of IT services to make them self-service and frictionless. And third, your transform your IT operations,” said Goulden.

In a closed group discussion for APJ journalist, we asked Michael Dell how his company is helping CXOs justify the investments they make in technology. And here is his response:

“CEOs invest in information technology to be more productive, to improve their costs and to enable growth and acquisition of new customers for their business. Today, you can’t do anything (in business) without IT,” said Dell.  “We have been talking a lot about digital transformation, but when you go to the CEO and talk about it, he says you need to do that with the budget you have (without extra money). So they look to the infrastructure and ask how could they make it more efficient; modernize it, take cost out and enable digital transformation. A lot of the things we are doing with our customers, products and innovations is to enable that transformation.”

Dell also mentioned Workforce Transformation as a key enabler in this transformation. He said a few years ago people thought that everything was “going to the mobile phone” and they started “defocusing” on other devices such as PCs.

“The installed base of PCs became old and productivity fell. If you want to make people productive, and if you want to retain or attract the most talented people to your company, the lowest cost PC is not the right answer,” said Dell.  “You want to have the best tools. And it all has to be secure.”

Cloud Strategy

Dell’s cloud strategy includes infrastructure from Dell EMC, software from VMware and a set of services packaged from various cloud service providers.

"The first part of our strategy is to support a multi-cloud world to enable your companies to make the digital transformation. The second part of our strategy concerns the infrastructure the cloud runs on," said Goulden.

Dell takes an application centric view of the cloud. It has three segments: Traditional applications, mission-critical applications and cloud-native applications. Goulden said Dell wants to help customers manage all types through a hybrid cloud strategy. It will help customers run the applications on the cloud and to manage the environment.

He showed the product road map from Dell Technologies for managing applications both, on-premise and off-premise (cloud). Virtustream manages mission critical applications such as SAP, off premise (on cloud) but Dell will soon launch the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud for Virtustream – to enable customers run mission critical applications in a hybrid environment.  The Virtustream suite also includes the Virtustream Storage Cloud for hyperscale object storage.

Pivotal will manage distributed applications that scale out. Vmware offerings will be used for managing applications on public clouds.

Dell Technologies has alliances with various cloud service providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others.  

There is also a strategy to launch clouds targeted at specific verticals. Dell announced the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud -- for storage of electronic healthcare records on the cloud. Another example is the Virtustream Federal Cloud for public-sector organizations.

In addition, Dell EMC continues to enhance its portfolio of multi-cloud data protection solutions.

BW Analysis

Evidently, Dell Technologies went all out to make its cloud strategy more clear to customers. It showed the segregation of products from its cloud portfolio. It now has a task of convincing its current and prospective customers on what products are the “right fit” for their businesses.

Dell also needs to understand that some customers may not be ready for full-scale cloud deployments and may only want to go with Infrastructure as a Service or managed hosting, for now.

Our second observation: We see close similarity in products. For instance, Dell EMC has two object-storage clouds: Virtustream Storage Cloud and Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS).  Dell clarified that there is no overlap in its product portfolio and that there is a clear product segmentation defined for each of their offerings.

We would like to see Dell communicating this differentiation in stronger and clearer terms to its customers.

Product Roadmap

Enhanced versions of products and product roadmaps were announced at this event. We have curated this information from the company press releases.

PowerEdge 14G servers: The new servers enable up to 50 percent more VDI users per server with 90 per cent faster service resolution. They come with next-generation OpenManage Enterprise console engineered to unify system management experience. And they include new security features and services from Dell EMC.

New all flash storage systems:
The new products announced were notably VMAX 950F (all flash), XtremIO X2 (purpose-built for all-flash with always-on inline data services), and new Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage models. New SC5020 midrange hybrid storage arrays and a new generation of Isilon storage platforms were also announced.

New open network products:
The new or enhanced network products included the industry’s first 25GbE Open Networking top-of-rack switch; Dell EMC’s first optimized open networking platform for unified storage network switching with support for 16Gb/32Gb fibre channel; a new family of energy-efficient and cost-effective open networking switches for small- and medium-sized organizations enable workforce transformation.

Software defined storage:
The storage announcements included the next version of Dell EMC ScaleIO; updates to the Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) platform that include the ECS Dedicated Cloud Service, which enables hybrid deployment models for ECS, as well as ECS.Next, which features enhanced data protection, management and analytics capabilities.

Dell EMC also gave a preview of Project Nautilus, a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data, enabling businesses to make real-time decisions.

Updates to Dell EMC IsilonSD Edge, providing simplified deployment options as well as support for virtual storage platforms like ScaleIO and VMware vSAN.

New and updated Dell EMC Ready Nodes that expand software-defined storage portfolio with pre-tested and pre-configured SDS and server solutions.

IoT announcements: New VMware Pulse IoT Center, Dell EMC IoT Technology Advisory Services simplify IoT deployments; New IoT partnerships with Atos, Bosch and IBM; Dell EMC and VMware, founding members of new EdgeX Foundry Linux Foundation project, join 50 other companies to build open framework for edge computing.

Security announcements:
New turnkey data protection appliance converges storage, protection software, search and analytics in a single solution. Brings together deduplication (average 55:1 deduplication rate) for data residing both on premise and in the cloud. Four models scale from 34 TB to 1 PB usable capacity. Dell EMC protects more than 150 PB of data in the cloud.

Related Stories:

Dell CFO Tom Sweet explains how he coped with Dell-EMC merger

Dell EMC Introduces New Consumption Models

Michael Dell: PCs are still very important to our customers and to us

The writer was hosted by Dell EMC in Las Vegas.


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