Pointing to the rapid changes enabled by cloud and mobile computing, Dell this week has unveiled a range of new products and services to help enterprises manage their businesses and meet customer needs. New offerings from the Texas-based firm, which wrapped up its annual Dell World conference in Austin on Thursday, include a public beta cloud marketplace, a connected-device platform for the healthcare industry and a "smart desk" concept design for "the workplace of the future."
During his keynote address at Dell World on Wednesday, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell noted, "The forces of cloud, big data, mobile and social...are advancing human progress more quickly and more fundamentally than at any time in human history." He added that his company was focused on end-to-end technology innovations "driving radical simplification and innovation from the PC to the data center to the cloud."
Dell further noted that his company's mission has been made easier by the decision to go from publicly traded to private last year in a $24.4 billion leveraged buyout.
"There's a lot of turmoil in the industry," Dell said, adding that his company is not in the same position as many public tech companies that are "splitting themselves every which way." He continued, "Being private allows us to direct 100 percent of our energy toward...focusing on a future that is far beyond the next quarter or next year."
Cloud Marketplace in Beta
Among Dell's new offerings this week is the public beta launch of Dell Cloud Marketplace. Aimed at both developers and IT managers, the marketplace provides a single unified console for accessing public cloud services from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Joyent.
Dell says the platform was designed to address some of the key concerns it identified among IT managers in its first-ever Global Technology Adoption Index, released earlier this week. The index, based on surveys of more than 2,000 employees at mid-size organizations in a variety of countries and industries, found that security concerns remain a leading obstacle to the adoption of cloud computing and big-data strategies.
Designed with built-in security, governance and management tools, Dell Cloud Marketplace is, the company said, "a vendor-agnostic, self-service portal providing developers the agility and functionality they expect from the cloud, while allowing IT managers comprehensive security, visibility and control of the cloud services consumed by the IT organization."
Available now, Dell Cloud Marketplace will be expanded next year with additional capabilities through partnerships with Delphix, Docker and Pertino.
'Exponential' Advantages and Efficiencies
We reached out to Dell to learn more about the other transformations it is seeing in IT, in particular the shift from "software-defined" to "software-based" data centers.
"As servers continue to become more capable, the only hardware needed in a data center will be a server," a spokesperson said via e-mail. "The storage and network functions that once required specialized hardware will now be able to run as software on standard servers. In fact, all functions anyone would need from the data center could be run as software on a server, and this software can be managed and provisioned like any other workload running on a server."
The spokesperson added, "The advantages and efficiencies are exponential. Not only will this reduce the physical footprint of data centers, it will cut costs and increase sustainable practices. Compute, storage and networking will become more efficient, more customizable and more capable, enabling customers to roll out new services and products in days versus weeks. That level of efficiency would create new innovations in and of itself, with new types of services and products creating new business models."
Other announcements from Dell this week include a new partnership with Deloitte aimed at developing cloud-based offerings for industry verticals, with an initial focus on healthcare; mobility and security updates to the Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series tablets for corporate users; a Dell PowerEdge FX converged architecture; the Dell XC Series of Web-Scale Converged Appliances; new Dell Digital Business Services; and a conceptual design for a "smart desk" that combines interactive, multi-touch LCD screens with a horizontal, digital work surface.