Last week, I attended the Dell Technologies IQT event in New York City—a coming out party of sorts for Dell’s much anticipated and expanded IoT strategy. Our senior IoT analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, Chris Wilder, published a research paper yesterday on Dell’s new strategy, which you can read here if interested. I wanted to go ahead and share my take on the announcements coming out of the event.
Some background first. Dell was an early-entrant in IoT through the company’s OEM business and is not new to Dell. In fact, at two Dell EMC Worlds ago, I sat on stage with multiple Dell EMC IoT customers like mining operators and energy companies. The big difference two years ago is that there was very little if any synergy across Dell Technologies which spans Dell, Dell EMC, Vmware, RSA, Pivotal, SecureWorks and VirtuStream. Dell’s IQT Day sought to add some intelligence, the “IQ” into the Things and to do it Dell Technologies announced they would muster all the resources of the mothership.
Dell Technologies introduces its new “distributed model”
Dell is referring to its IoT strategy as a “distributed model”—running counter to the highly-centralized public cloud computing model that has gained popularity in recent years. Dell contends that the myriad of devices on the edge (phones, autonomous cars, sensors) no longer have time to wait for a response from a centralized infrastructure—they must be able to process information and make decisions in real time. Dell’s answer to this problem is a new architecture that combines IoT and AI into one interconnected ecosystem spanning from the cloud to the core to the edge: a “Distributed Model.” I have long thought the “distributed core” (we call it “edge computing”) makes sense and not out of playing “defense” to the public cloud, but because of the laws of physics.
The distributed core is not an entirely unique approach—Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems are also pursuing a similar distributed methodology but with different strategies. I believe Dell’s main differentiator is that under the Dell Technologies family of companies, the company can deliver more of a complete bundle at the infrastructure, management, and development layers. Dell Technologies simply has most all of its bases all covered, and I am sure this will give the competition something to think about.
A new division with a mission
Also announced last Tuesday was that Dell would be investing $1 billion over three years into a newly announced IoT division of the company, which would finance new products, services, labs, partner programs, and overall ecosystem. The new division will be headed up by Ray O’Farrell, CTO at Vmware so that Ray will have two jobs—I wonder if he’s getting paid for the two titles. Some of Dell Technology’s products are already well-suited to align with and adapt to the company’s new IoT strategy—Dell Edge Gateways, managed by VMware’s Pulse IoT Control Center, Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF), Pivotal Container Service (PKS), and Virtustream’s PCF Service, just to name a few. This is all well and good, but I was more interested to hear about the slew of new and conjoined product development initiatives announced Tuesday. Moreover, Dell Technologies delivered.