This week I, and many of the Moor Insights & Strategy team, attended Dell’s annual Technologies Summit in my home base of Austin, TX. With Dell’s wide-ranging family of companies, there’s always a little something for everyone at these events. Here is my coverage from 2017.The emphasis this year was services, a new automated infrastructure platform, and 2030 CSR goals. Let’s take a look at what all was announced.
Dell Technologies on Demand
The big, overarching announcement from Dell Technologies Summit was the introduction of Dell Technologies On Demand, a end-to-end collection of consumption-based, as-a-service infrastructure offerings, that Dell says will deliver IT “with the agility of cloud and the control, performance and predictability of on-premises infrastructure.”
Unless you’re living under a rock, you can see how services are eating the world. While there is a lot more talk than buyers of XaaS, it’s coming and every company needs to be ready. I believe in ten years, even infrastructure buyers will ask about services first. I had a productive meeting at the event with Dell Technologies president of services, Doug Schmitt and he sees the opportunity and his team will be tasked at Dell to make that adjustment.
Basically, the new on-demand offering gives customers flexible payment options for Dell’s full line of infrastructure offerings, ranging across compute, storage, networking and virtualization. These payment options include Pay As You Grow (determine payment structure based on anticipated business growth), Flex On Demand (commit to baseline capacity, then pay for buffer capacity as you need it), and Data Center Utility (pay-per-use across IT infrastructure). The shift to more on-demand, ongoing operational expense models should make IT budgeting more predictable for organizations and cut down on overprovisioning.
The new service integrates full-stack solution book-ends ranging from Dell Technologies Cloud to Dell Technologies Unified Workspace (see here), as well as engineered solutions for critical business applications and workloads. Additionally, customers can combine Dell’s ProDeploy (an enterprise deployment service here), ProSupport (enterprise-grade tech support, see here), and Managed Services with these flexible consumption models for even further custom experiences. As part of Dell Technologies On Demand, Dell also announced that its Flex On Demand consumption model was coming to the entire Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio.
Another part of this announcement is that the company is expanding its already impressive PCaaS service (see here for more info) to now serve small businesses. This includes PC acquisition and lifecycle management of hardware, software, services, and financing. Customers pay a single, consistent price per seat per month.
All in all, the Dell Technologies On Demand announcement makes sense—the whole world is going XaaS. Dell has been leaning into its services offerings for some time now, and Dell Technologies On Demand takes this a step further. The big differentiator here, as I see it, is the truly impressive edge-to-cloud scale and breadth of the offering. Dell scoffed at questions on whether it was “late” with its announcement and made clear that it was doing a lot more business like this than any other infrastructure player and offered attendees to just look at the deferred revenue numbers on the P&L. Competition is great, isn’t it?
New autonomous infrastructure Dell EMC PowerOne
Dell also announced its new autonomous infrastructure offering, Dell EMC PowerOne, at the event. PowerOne combines:
- PowerEdge Compute
- PowerMax Storage array
- PowerSwitch Networking
- PowerOne Controller an “intelligence engine”
- VMware virtualization
Technically it’s converged “infrastructure+”, but with the PowerOne controller, it’s a lot more than standard CI. Utilizing a Kubernetes micro-services architecture and Ansible workflows, this Controller aka “intelligence engine” should automate thousands of manual steps, including configuration, provisioning, and lifecycle management, and enable IT to focus more on value-adding activities versus maintenance. Dell says the administrators can simply tell PowerOne what their
desired business outcome is, and then the system will purportedly calculate the best way to accomplish it. Dell says PowerOne basically delivers “infrastructure as code,” via a single system-level API that can be coupled with tools such as service portals to deliver automation. Additionally, the offering includes Dell’s PowerProtect data protection portfolio. I may have thought this too good to be true, but thankfully, Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Matt Kimball has researched PowerOne thoroughly. You can find his paper here.
The new offering will also be available through Dell Technologies On Demand, giving customers a choice between the multiple flexible consumption models mentioned earlier. Additionally, the company says its ProConsult, ProDeploy, and ProSupport Plus offerings can help customers get PowerOne up and running quickly.
2030 CSR commitments
While I spend a lot of time on new product and service announcements as an analyst, I also research and analyze CSR, sustainability and company culture. While these have always been paramount, I will posit that in today’s and age it is a lot more important as more and more employees and customers desire to be affiliated with company’s who share similar goals. Michael Dell himself made this announcement which should indicate that this is a big deal, real and cuts to the core of what he wants his company to stand for in 2030.
Dell announced at the event several new “moonshot” goals to bolster its “Progress Made Real” vision, originally announced last July. “Progress Made Real” is essentially Dell’s strategy and goals to utilize its technology and expertise to enact meaningful, measurable, positive impact on the planet by the year 2030.
On a global scale, Dell announced its intentions to “advance the health, education and economic opportunity” of 1 billion people over the next 10 years. Additionally, it plans to help digitally transform 1,000 nonprofits and engage 75% of its team members in charitable giving and volunteerism.
A big part of this is environmental—Dell announced its intentions to recycle an equivalent product for every product sold and to ensure half of all products made originates from recycled or renewable sources (with 100% recycled/renewables for packaging). Another bold goal set forth is the company’s plan to design a science-based program to combat climate change, establishing emissions goals for its facilities, supply chain, operations, and customer use of its products. Dell hopes to reach its greenhouse gas emissions target of 60% per unit share by 2030. Dell has been at the forefront of recycling and while the company told me it doesn’t know exact’y how it will get there (hence “moonshot”) I am confident it will find a way.
Dell also announced it was taking strides to foster diversity and inclusion, setting the goal of hiring, developing, and retaining women employees so that they might make up 50% of the company’s global workforce and 40% of its global people managers. Additionally, Dell announced similar goals for black/African American and Hispanic team members to make up 25% of its U.S. workforce and 15% of its U.S. people managers. Lastly in this area, the company announced a goal to educate 95% of its workforce annually about privilege, micro-aggressions, and unconscious bias.
What I love about these “moonshot” goals is that Dell doesn’t know exactly know how it will achieve all of these, but I know that when Dell puts a number out there, it will literally do everything and anything to hit it. Patrick Moorhead
While Dell Technologies has offered many XaaS offerings before, it’s nice to see the company go “all-in” publicly and systemically. This is where the industry is going, and Dell is offering its entire line of end point devices and infrastructure portfolio and flexible consumption models. Dell EMC PowerOne looks like a great integrated offering with some special automation features that makes it hard to call it just CI. Dell’s new commitments to upping its game in the CSR arena were nice icing on the cake. It was a big year for the Dell Technologies Summit, and I’m glad I got to partake.