10 Highlights Of Dell EMC World 2017

DEWWe just concluded a massive week of technology launches, media briefings, customer meetings and world class thought leadership in Las Vegas at Dell EMC World. Having been to many EMC Worlds, this event was bigger, badder (in a good way) and more fun than anything I have seen before. Here are my top 10 highlights:

10. The products launches were on a scale unheard of. If you went to the event expecting one product update, or a few feature enhancements then you would have been blown away by how almost every product line was enhanced, and the innovation didn’t just stop at technology. It included innovations and launched in= solutions, services and new consumption models. We announced new platforms around Azure stack (hybrid cloud to extend out to Azure). We updated our RedHat ready bundles – even more tailored towards containers, Hadoop workloads and customers wanting to deploy platforms like CEPH. Impressively ‘el reg’ did a great write up here on a number of the launches here (the announcements take up 3 pages!): https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/09/dell_emc_news_roundup/

9. The latitude 7285 2-in-1 laptop was announced. Jeremy Burton (@jburton) did an awesome job filling in for Jeff Clarke in presenting the latest in the Dell workforce transformation journey. This session included the announcement of the latitude 7285. This amazing device brings the intersection of both tablet and laptop, with the ability to disconnect the keyboard when you want to roam away from your desk. Combined with wireless charging and wireless monitor connection, this device has the potential to do away with cables entirely. What was well articulated though was that workforce transformation was more than just the evolution of beautiful devices, but transforming work to be something that is no longer a place, but something one does wherever they are when they need to.

8. AR/VR. This year’s conference was a technology evolution in the way content was delivered. The break-out areas and show case zones were scattered with drones, gaming and a vast array of technology. The real highlight for me was the presence of virtual reality and augmented reality. It even featured on the main stage, where Jeff Boudreau from Dell EMC showcased a virtual reality display of the latest innovations in storage infrastructure (more below). This is a demo I seriously want to get hold of and run on my HTC Vive! It provides the ability to pull apart systems, visualize and walkthrough infrastructure platforms without ever having to enter the data centre.VR2

7. Launch of the Dell EMC heroes program for partners. Hosted by Vince Affatati (@emczilla), this session kick-started what is set to become the industry leading program for Presales engineers in the Dell EMC partner community. Through a combination of heroes events every quarter in major cities across the world, CTO programs for partners and field feedback/engagement sessions, this program will connect the key Presales people from the Dell EMC partner community to roadmaps, technology and innovations. Chad Sakac (@sakacc) spent time sharing with the Partner SE community his personal journey as an SE, what he sees the elements of a strong Presales person are (a combination of being strong in both the science and art of technology sales) and some of the failures he had along the way – a truly inspiring and humbling session.

Vince DEW

6. Project Nautilus, an innovation in big data – Launched by Manuvir Das (@ManuvirDas) – Manuvir highlighted that today’s technologies, solutions and organizational design often leads to siloes of information, is not cost effective and doesn’t create the ability for companies to derive value from their structure and unstructured data due to an inherent lack of scalability. Project Nautilus solves these challenges by bringing together a solution that is designed for streaming data (e.g. IoT). The platform leverages both Isilon & ECS to optimize information storage, while providing the ability to react to events in real-time. Manuvir showcased a demonstration of streaming video, combined with facial recognition and real time threat detection. As an aside – Dell EMC IT is in an innovator in data science proudly leverages the full suite of Dell Technology solutions to run the business. Below is an example from a break-out session where they are using some of the technology in Project Nautilus to drive innovative big data use cases for Dell EMC.

Data Science

5. It’s a HCI & Hybrid Cloud world. Pat Gelsinger (PGelsinger), CEO of VMware took to the stage on day 2 to talk about joint innovations between Dell EMC and VMware. He highlighted the recent VSAN 6.6 release, which brings performance enhancements and encryption without comprise. He predicted a future where all infrastructure will become “hyper-converged” and while he didn’t share timelines or horizons, Chad Sakac (@sakacc) wasn’t shy in talking about the massive growth rates in VxRail, how Dell EMC was the #1 market share leader in HCI and why technology companies (including Dell EMC) need to lean in to this architecture in order to build the future of IT. Also during the session we saw a demonstration of the latest vSphere automation capabilities, which included a demonstration of using VMware tools (VCF) to manage and deploy ESX VMs in AWS, while replicating to an on premise VMWare environment powered through integration with Recoverpoint – a very cool capability making hybrid cloud simple with cross cloud integration.


4. Citigroup’s adoption of ScaleIO and VMWare. Dan Maslowski from Citigroups engineering team talked about how this technology has transformed the way they run IT. During a break-out session, Citi ran a deep dive on their technology transformation – a session that had infrastructure architects and CIOs alike talking about the power of ScaleIO. Based on the feedback, during this session Citigroup shared with the audience how they are moving massive workloads to a software defined architecture. Through the deployment of ScaleIO, they have been able to automate their infrastructure and build a software defined capability that now runs more than 16PBs of data and over 1 million IOPs – with an internal cloud platform that is driving down TCO of infrastructure and enabling greater efficiency. If you attended this session and have more to share please post below (The CIOs I spoke to of banks from Asia were very excited by this architectural approach).

3. Storage and HCI Product updates, enhancements and launches:

  • VMAX950F – a system scalable to 4PBs, with 68% more IOPs than the previous system, lower response times (improved by 30%) and 25% less space required for a typical deployment.
  • This week we saw the launch of the integrated data appliance, a solution that means complex deployment of separate backup software and hardware technologies are no longer needed. Backup just became tightly integrated. Touting an average of 55:1 data reduction rate, ability to move workloads natively to the cloud and simplified data management.
  • We saw the announcement of XtremIO X2, which brings an 80% improvement to the already amazing response times of the previous system, a lower TCO (in some use cases by as much as 2/3rds) and greater granularity in upgrades. Data reduction has improved for some workloads by 25%, which contributes to the lower TCO and greater efficiency.
  • The unity all flash storage product line had a major boost with new processing capabilities, greater levels of compression and improvement/increases to the integrated data copy management (iCDMA) capability.
  • Our Nutanix XC series platform was updated to integrate with the Dell EMC data protection portfolio, a new low entry point configuration was added (3 nodes) and cloud foundry integration (low entry point platform for customers wanting Agile/DevOps transformation)
  • ScaleIO enhancements with the announcement of v3.0, due for release later in 2017 – bringing data reduction through compression and space efficient snaps. Volume migration enhancements. 14G ready nodes (see below). vVol support and more.
  • ECS – density and efficiency enhancements.
  • New generation of Isilon. 6-11x performance increase over the previous generation of Isilon. Greater levels of density (a previous 16U system can now be deployed in 4u). The system can now scale to 33PBs in a single platform.
  • Launch of the Compellent SC5020 (joins 7000 & 9000) – doubled capacity and greater IOPs. The design point has been architected to be the lowest cost high performing storage platform in the market, with a target price point below 10c/GB

2. 14G Server Announcement and Preview. The most exciting launch for Dell EMC this year (coming “Summer” – which is winter downunder!) is the evolution of the Poweredge server range. Set for official launch later in the year, although early customer ship program is underway, the new platform will incorporate Intel’s latest Xeon chip set. Not only will this put Dell EMC early to market with intel, the new architecture is designed to increase end to end security, offer greater levels of flexibility particularly for customers building private cloud models, have unique design in air-flow efficiency and increase processing power. I see this providing outcomes for customers in 3 ways (1) significantly lower the overall running cost of IT (2) provide greater agility in bringing new projects to market more quickly for caster, particularly with the tie in to Dell technologies software defined architecture and the iDrac management capabilities (just in time procurement and provisioning has now become a reality) (3) improve an organizations ability to find results faster, whether that be running HPC, sequencing DNA, analyzing customer patterns or performing any other sort of compute intensive workload.

1. Michael Dell – what an inspiration. On day 1 he kicked off the show and the feedback from customers, partners and media was that he articulated the complex set of solutions and technologies in a way that was easy to understand, impactful and transformative. He was clearly not just excited by what the power of Dell EMC could do as one company, but how the extension of Virtustream, Pivotal, VMWare and Secureworks could solve problems and achieve outcomes that no other technology company on the planet could do. Through the conference he also talked about his passion for diversity, his involvement in giving back to the world through social programs and ultimately how Dell technologies seeks to progress humankind forward towards a better future. Want to watch a replay of this session. Watch here: https://www.emc.com/en-us/live.htm#main=ondemand.


So those are my top 10 takeaways. I couldn’t cover everything – there were hundreds of sessions, a massive amount of product launches and a huge number of customer, media and analyst conversations. If you think I missed a highlight from the event, please post comments below.

A couple of footnote disclaimers:

  1. I work for Dell EMC. Let me be up-front about that.
  2. This is my own personal view of what I took from the event, written by me. The opinions are my own.