Dell Creates New Internet of Things Division

It will sink $1 billion into IoT projects over the next three years.

Dell Technologies today announced the creation of a new division focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), and it tapped a VMware CTO to run it.

At an event in New York City, Dell CEO Michael Dell discussed the IoT Solutions Division, tasked with leading the charge into the exploding IoT space. The division will encompass product development, labs, a partner program, consumption models and building an ecosystem. Heading up the group will be Ray O'Farrell, who has now added the title "general manager for Dell Technologies IoT division" to his previous one of "VMware EVP & CTO."

In a press release, O'Farrell explained Dell's vision for the new group: "Our new IoT Division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution -- in combination with our vast partner ecosystem -- to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease."

To fulfill that vision, Dell said it will be investing $1 billion into its IoT efforts over the next three years. The product range that will be affected is wide, and includes Dell servers; storage, both on-premises and in the cloud; Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Pivotal Container Services for developing new cloud-based analytics applications; and Virtustream cloud management software.

The groundwork for some of this was laid last May, when VMware announced its Pulse IoT Center during the Dell EMC World conference. Pulse IoT Center is an edge-to-cloud management platform for enterprise-scale computing. It includes technology from its AirWatch endpoint management solution and vRealize Operations software for infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting.

Gartner Inc. has estimated that there will be 8.4 billion IoT devices in use by the end of this year, a number that's expected to grow to 30 billion by the end of the decade. That means there's a huge opportunity for Dell, and it's significant that a VMware executive was put in charge of the crucial new business unit.

Edge computing is at the heart of IoT. It's described by Virtualization & Cloud Review columnist Trevor Pott as "…a solution in which compute and storage are offered hyperlocally… Many proposed use cases for IoT devices rely on the ability to make quick decisions based on sensor data, decisions that may take too long if the data has to be trucked back to a centralized data farm and then back again."

The press release highlighted some of the initial development initiatives for the IoT Solutions Division:

  • Dell EMC 'Project Nautilus': Software that enables the ingestion and querying of data streams from IoT gateways in real time. Data can subsequently be archived to file or object storage for deeper advanced analytics;
  • 'Project Fire': a hyper converged platform part of the VMware Pulse family of IoT solutions that includes simplified management, local compute, storage and IoT applications such as real-time analytics. 'Project Fire' enables businesses to roll-out IoT use cases faster and have consistent infrastructure software from edge to core to cloud;
  • RSA 'Project IRIS': Currently under development in RSA Labs, Iris extends the Security Analytics capability to provide threat visibility and monitoring right out to the edge;
  • Disruptive technologies like processor accelerators will increase the velocity of analytics closer to the edge. Collaboration with industry leaders like VMware, Intel and NVIDIA and the Dell Technologies Capital investment in Graphcore reflect opportunities to optimize servers for AI, machine learning and deep learning performance.
  • Project 'Worldwide Herd': for performing analytics on geographically dispersed data -- increasingly important to enable deep learning on datasets that cannot be moved for reasons of size, privacy and regulatory concern.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.


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