Dell launches multi-cloud AI platforms for data centres

2nd May 2018
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Dell’s new data centre products support data crunching for AI and machine learning modules; companies like Rio Grande Pacific and McLaren believe the future of IT is in using data for outcomes.

IT has moved from data capturing, to insights, to outcomes. At the Dell World Technologies event, Dell-EMC showcased cutting-edge technologies that cut the cycle time of crunching data from weeks to minutes and even seconds. The tech major launched technologies that make the modern data centre ready to support information flow from edge devices to a multi-cloud and on-premise environment.

Dell’s new data centre products can support data crunching for AI and machine learning modules. Without going into tech specs, these products - called PowerEdge and PowerMax - support enterprises to scale up internet of things (where services are delivered to consumers or enterprises through servers and data is gathered) along with real-time data capture in different cloud environments.

Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman, Products and Services at Dell EMC, said: “There are five key themes that everyone should focus on over the next five years if you have to be successful as a business.”

Jeff Clarke, Vice Chairman of Dell Products and Services

The key technologies that Dell wants you to focus on are:

  • Immersive and collaborative technologies: In the next 18 months the world of training employees is going through a transformation. Organisations will use immersive technologies to train employees virtually on coming up to speed with new business processes and software. They will employ cutting-edge IT products to keep the workforce motivated to work in offices. Augmented and virtual reality services are being embedded through the cloud to deliver outcomes for employee training.
  • Internet of things: The next time you walk into a retail store there will be devices serving you relevant content through a local network on your mobile. These new applications will work on low latency and will compute data to figure out your entire purchase history and make suggestions
  • Multi-cloud adoption: Private cloud is becoming popular with all companies. All applications today are being built as cloud-native, and focus on edge computing. Once applications are on the cloud, they need to be supported by scalable storage and security. The business model for the future will be pay-as-you go, where a client pays for the technology only after a computer or storage prompt.
  • Software defined: Everything is eaten by software - networks, data centres, security. There is no way one can escape how software has automated everything. Software will control all data centres remotely and will save cost of maintenance and patch problems by itself.
  • AI and machine learning: Seventy percent of apps will have AI by 2021. This is the era of cognitive computing where the machine learns about behaviour and enhances human efficiencies.

“We have looked at digitising the network and to work like the cloud. We have digitised our networks between data centre and cloud, and have helped our branches access data better. The future is going to entirely managed by software,” believes Jim Fagan, Director of Platforms of Telstra.

So is future of the modern data centre about agility, intelligence or multi-cloud?

"Real-time analytics is the future and Dell products are built for pattern recognition to accelerate computation of voluminous data. What used to take 20 minutes to crunch takes a minute nowadays," Jeff says.

The future of data

Everyone wants to modernise infrastructure and have hybrid data constructs such as public/private cloud and on-premise solutions.

Rio Grande Pacific, an old railroad company, is going digital too. The company's objective was to understand the benefits of going digital. It has evolved from being a railroad holding company into a provider of technology services for other short line railroads and commuter operations. It did so by modernising its data centre and software, which allowed for 93 percent reduction in data centre electricity use and significantly improved provisioning time. This made the railroad company wake up and create a new business called the “RIoT” or Railway Internet of Things.

Jason Brown, CIO, Rio Grande Pacific, says: “As part of a 150-year-old industry, we recognise that the future of rail is tied to technology.” Railroads are in need of real-time information in order to make rapid decisions. Brown says that by combining several systems into one single dashboard though their RIOT domain, the platform provides a holistic view to customers and helps them keep the trains running on time. These new services, using the most modern technology, sets Rio Grande Pacific apart from the competition and has led to strong growth. This is an example of how old legacy businesses can go digital.

Real-time analytics

Now, we all know Formula One racing was always about data. However, data was always limited to individual teams of racing, engineering and mechanics. Today the digital world has combined all three teams on a real time-basis.

Jonathan Neale, COO of McLaren Group, uses data to make fast cars. "We try to solve problems with data analytics. It’s all about product, process, and people,” he says.

McLaren has seen enormous change in the use of sensors over the last 20 years. The sports car generates 4 megabits of data a second, which is on a distributed system. In a race, the data between a driver to mechanic is exchanged on a real-time basis. The digital data allows McLaren to make decisions within a minute and a half, which can be critical in a race. For McLaren, this is vital because they have invested $500 million for R&D over the last five years.

“In the old days people were not in the same loop. For example, 80 percent of the parts that were made were assessed by the drivers. We had to trust them to know if the parts were good or not. Now it's not a linear process; it is the whole team working together to make the decision,” Neale says.

The cloud services market

Dell works with all major cloud service providers. The cloud, clearly, is the future for all enterprises.

The worldwide infrastructure as a service (IaaS) public cloud market grew 31 percent in 2016 to total $22.1 billion, up from $16.8 billion in 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Amazon was the No 1 vendor in the IaaS market in 2016, followed by Microsoft and Alibaba.

Sid Nag, Research Director at Gartner, said: “The market for cloud services is growing faster than virtually every other IT market today, with much of this growth coming at the expense of the traditional, non-cloud offerings.”

“The demand for cloud-based IaaS continues on its path of aggressive growth, and the high growth of IaaS is also driving growth in related cloud markets. While platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) are also exhibiting strong growth, IaaS is expected to show the fastest growth over the next five years.”

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