Dell hosted a two-day analyst event recently in New York City. The first day focused on IQT—Dell’s “intelligent” approach to the Internet of Things (IoT). During the second day, company executives briefed analysts on product updates and future directions.
Michael Dell delivered the IQT keynote, pointing out that IoT equates to massive amounts of data and, in that Dell EMC stores more than half of the world’ critical data, IoT is 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.
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:
Storage platforms specified at announcement time were EMC Isilon and Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS).
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.
During the second day, executives 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. We expect to see three major product groupings emerge: large-scale, entry-mid level, and unstructured. Which storage platforms will prevail within each group is unclear although the SC Series (formerly Compellent) was mentioned more than once as an entry-mid range star performer. VBlock will also likely survive but with a shorter list of differing models (more models = more cost to Dell to support). Consolidations can also be expected for VxRack and VxRail platforms going forward. However, the number of software bundles riding on top of these platforms will be expanded to include high performance computing (HPC) and analytics as well as SAP and Microsoft application stacks. Data Protection will see further integration of self-protecting storage features with on- and off-premises secondary data stores. The enablement of application owners to implement their own data protection policies under administrative oversight will also be a more dominant data protection theme.
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:
Moogsoft – Machine learning to detect system issues before they become failures
Foghorn Systems – Machine learning at the edge for IoT
ZingBox – IoT security
Graphcore Systems – Intelligence Processing Units (IPU) chips, 10x faster than GPUs
Edico Genome – DRAGEN Bio-IT Processor for processing an entire genome in 20 minutes
We see IQT is a significant strategy for two reasons. First, it is the most comprehensive integration of IoT solutions, services and partnerships 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.