I attended a Dell-hosted, two-day analyst event last week in New York City. The first day focused on IQT—Dell’s “intelligent” approach to the Internet of Things (IoT). Michael Dell was with us for the entire day. During the second day, company executives briefed analysts on product strategies and future directions—a critical facet of the Dell EMC integration effort going forward.
IQT is Dell’s way to say IoT. Michael Dell delivered the keynote, pointing out that IoT equates to massive amounts of data and, in that Dell EMC now stores more than half of the world’ critical data, IoT is a storage-intensive phenomenon. But he also noted that real time IoT application response is critical as well. In order to achieve that, a distributed edge-to-core-to-cloud architectural model that is more affordable and economical is needed. Just throwing all IoT data into a cloud-based data lake and trying to cope with it there is not a sustainable strategy for enterprise IT – the target market for IQT. At the edge where data is initially ingested is where Dell intends to process and initially store disparate IoT data. But he also introduced a “distributed core” concept that speaks to a distributed processing and analytics engine that converges streaming data processing at the edge (Project Nautilus) with centralized historical and contextual analysis. To develop the architecture, Dell will be spending $1B over the next three years.
Many if not all of Dell’s technology brands will participate in IQT. Servers, networks and storage will support the hardware infrastructure. Others include Pivotal for application development and distributed analytics, RSA for security, and VMware for IQT system management under its Pulse IoT Center. IQT solutions will be enterprise IT-focused and feature end-to-end, production readiness. To bring IQT to market, Dell EMC will also tap into and add to its extensive partner community.
At this event Dell executives also updated on their progress with the product portfolio and the integration of EMC. They repeatedly spoke of product portfolio “simplification” although “rationalization” is probably a better word. The Dell EMC merger brought together two IT infrastructure companies with overlapping product lines. This is particularly true for data storage. Dell had acquired Compellent and Equal Logic while EMC offered VMAX, VNX, Isilon and others. Product teams will be talking to customers to get a sense of what they want to see from the new Dell EMC storage division going forward and act accordingly. Customers can expect to less overlap and less complexity when sizing-up Dell products. Some will go, some will stay, some will be blended together.
Dell is also investing in promising startups that could contribute in some way to Dell’s overall strategy in the future. Featured at this conference were:
IQT is a significant strategy for two reasons. First, it is the most comprehensive integration of IoT solutions, services and partnerships focused on the enterprise yet produced by any IT vendor. Second, it unites the Dell brands and gets them marching in the same direction. They now have a clear and present need to collaborate with one another – a brilliant move on Michael Dell’s part to draw-in and solidify the EMC acquisition.