Dell Technologies World 2019 – Wednesday General Session – Optimism and Happiness in the Digital Age – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2019.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Media, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the Wednesday General Session at Dell Technologies World, titled “Optimism and Happiness in the Digital Age”. The panellists were:


Anxiety today?

AD: Change has been going in for a long time. It’s the pace of change, in every part of our lives. People are questioning what they’re going to do when things keep changing.

WIA: The investment that society has put in AI is much more than it has in human intelligence. We haven’t invested in humanity.

Tell us more about your company Will.

WIA: Marc Benioff pushed us to pivot a long time ago. We had a watch separate to a phone a while ago. Used to have to talk to the watch. Told them to focus on the software. Back in 2004. Did things like voice control. Getting it to be cross-domain. Natural language processing. Now they power Deutsche Telekom’s call centres in Austria, amongst others.

Brynn, can you tell us about your company?

BP: MIRROR is a mirror, and can stream in-home fitness things. We want to make it the third screen in your life. For interactive experiences. Using technology for fitness. You’ve leaned in to screens. The best technology gives you what you need, what you want, and what you can do. Use biometric data to tailor your program.

How many people are tracking their steps? That’s a great example of positive uses of technology. Allison, can you talk about AI? It concerns people when they gaze into the future.

AD: AI is not actually new. Combination of AI, data and compute power. Are we an optimist or are we a pessimist. We need to be pragmatic, responsible optimists. Any technology can be used for good, and used for bad. We use a lot of AI and ML to do our targeting in marketing. IF we only use the data from the past, we only target current customers. We want to expand our audience. So we have to think about the data sets that go into our models, This is human thought and governance going into what we do. Critical thinking and human oversight. Really big social problems – medicine done at scale.

Will, do you want to respond?

WIA: For a company, that’s great. Taking data and using AI to give you a path forward. But people and communities don’t have that. What’s coming tomorrow is a little more personal. Some other companies are accessing people’s free product. “I’m just a data point for them”. Doctor’s still ask you questions like where have you been? My phone knows that. My doctor doesn’t ask for my phone though. We need to have regulations on data, and AI. Government needs to catch up.

Will, you had a previous career. Music industry was hit hard by tech via file sharing.

WIA: Music is technology. The first Steve Jobs was Edison. The first iPod was a gramophone. That way of getting music was disrupted. More music is made today than there ever has. People aren’t getting rich like Lionel Richie any more. Maybe they will in the future. Music isn;’t all about money. Making your heart fell good, and letting other people feel that heart and joy. We need a new business model. There’s a lot of junk, but a lot of good stuff too. Music and VR is the space for dreamers and creators. It’s 1919. The industry hasn’t really blossomed yet.

Brynn, you’re a parent. You have a product that promotes screen time. Should that be limited?

BP: I think about quality more than quantity. We need to think about how tech can play a role in having a positive influence on our children. Inspire curiosity ..

AD: We need to think more about self-monitoring. We never allow our brains to get bored. When we do, we pick up our phones. Your mind never rests on a particular task. That prevents you from doing things like writing and creating music, for example.

Allison, what is the role of tech companies in building those kinds of monitors?

AD: So much of the conversation about tech is about media and social media. The writers are media professionals. There’s the role that companies have in social media, and the role we have in technology overall. Instagram are going to pilot diminishing the importance of likes in Canada. Some people think this is a bad thing, because they make money that way. Point of these technologies is to make a connection. We’re going to see increasing responsibility of media and governments. We try to do this too, in different areas.

Will, as a creator, how do use tech, but avoid being distracted while trying to do something?

WIA: Technology is not the only distraction. Boys and girls in high school. Drugs can be. The Kardashians are. You need to surround yourself with folks who share the same passion as you. You need to be mindful of the squad you select. We do dumb shit with smart phones. Some 18 – 21 year olds will create a new Facebook. They’re out-marketing the marketers. All in 15 – 30 seconds. The engagement is crazy.

Do you try to expressly carve out time from distractions?

BP: I try to set time for specific tasks. Focusing singularly on problems. It’s easy to blame the device.

Allison, are you doing this at Dell?

AD: When I talk about how are brains are wired, we don’t need to blame the device. It’s important to take personal responsibility. You need to have a conversation about not using phones at the dining table.

WIA: We people watch. If we were looking at the 60s, we’d judge them for having too much sex. Sluts and hos. “We don’t have phone sluts or phone hos”.

It’s a bit boring now to bring up government regulation. Do you have concerns for government breaking up big tech companies?

AD: What do you call it Will? “Idatity“? Creating some controls. California has different privacy laws compared to Europe or other US states. Worry about 1000s of different laws being in place to block productivity.

WIA: We live in America. The food isn’t the most healthy. The same company that regulates our drugs regulates our foods. We eat bad stuff then they give us pills. Bad for business. It should be about what’s good for people, not business.

Education. Technology is an important driver of the economy. Education hasn’t caught up yet though.

WIA: 11 years I’ve had a school where I’m from. Started with 65, now 700 kids. It’s hard to raise money for kids. It’s easy to raise money for AI though. That’s inhumane. That keeps me up at night. Why is it so hard to raise money for education?

Do you feel the education system is going to teach your child what they need to know?

BP: Optimistic answer. My 2yo favourite activity is taking tach and putting it back together. Excited to see my child engaging and exploring technology.

Allison, Dell hires a lot of people. Can you find enough engineers and programmers?

AD: Search for tech staff is hard. We have systemic issues in our education system. We need to focus on STEM, build the talent pool. Critical that we need to teach our children to engage in critical thinking. Teach our engineers to write, read, engage with other humans. Need them to think critically about what they ask the technology to work on. Kids don’t know how to talk to people.

WIA: I blame what we have on technology companies. If I ran FIFA, we makes sure there’s a World Cup every 4 years. They’re recruiting from a very young age. The Oscars make sure everyone is watching the red carpet. Acknowledge the makeup artists, the scriptwriters. The Grammies. There’s a shortage of jobs. We’re not inspiring kids to dream about that path. The tech companies need to pay so that every kid is dreaming of getting into tech.


BP: The ability to automate things that we need to do so we can do things we want to do

WIA: is it going to love me, and am I going to love it? Everyone picks up their dog, because the dog gives the illusion that it loves you. Will a robot do that because it knows everything about you? Is it going to love me too?

AD: The Cylon / Wall-E fight off. Cylons are bad, Wall-E is good. Which one will win.


AD: Already everywhere

WIA: Who owns my data when I’m going around pinging everything?

BP: Every day essentials made easier in a way that seamlessly integrates in my environment.

Genetic engineer?

BP: Pass.

WIA: Is the new rich. Humans born a certain way, and then the “super elite”. Data is currency now. Countries that will be poor in data, and countries that will be rich in data.

AD: I can see the possibility. Some of it is good – solving cancer. But I don’t want a girl, etc, that’s really scary.

WIA: I want to chop these legs off and join the Olympics. Now I want big breasts. You can do that now.

AD: Too much of the conversation is about the media. But it’s important too. After the Sri Lankan bombings, they shut down social media channels. Contributed to stopping some of the violence. But it’s scary. What do you think?

ES: Forums being used to propagate hate, there’s a need for some control. But it’s a first amendment issue too. It’s complicated.


Audience Q and A

Q: WE know there’s a correlation between fitness and happiness. But we’re all busy. Any tips?

BP: Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love. We’re always faced with a series of choices.

Q: Do you see technology as a way to not only celebrate diversity and eliminate biases we see? How does technology help us create respect for diversity? Do you see technology as a way to bring that forward?

AD: It absolutely can be, it’s whether you want to. It’s about the data sources you use. If you widen the source of information, you can solve the problem faster. You run into trouble if you apply the same processes to data that you already did, and don’t address the hidden bias.

BP: Social media is fundamentally a platform that enables everyone to be a story teller, and find their own community.

WIA: If tech could borrow from the world of music, and collaborate more. Music is all about collaboration. If we could be a bit more collaborative, diversity is solved.

Q: Is there anything that truly frightens you about tech?

AD: Tech can be used to bring out the best in humanity, and also used to inspire mass hatred. That’s why the emphasis I have on responsible and pragmatic is so important. We need to make sure we don’t pretend that the problems don’t exist. The truth is in the middle.

WIA: The technology doesn’t terrify me. People terrify me. The decisions we make, the hate we make, the divisions we create. Machines are machines. It’s not machines that made the Congo that way, or the hood has liquor stores and strip clubs near schools – that’s zoning. It’s people that scare me.

BP: The idea that innovation requires revolution. Over-emphasis on what we can do, rather than what the world needs.

Q: I grew up in a poor environment. When you gave back to the community, where did you start? And how did it progress?

WIA: 2008 – fresh off of what America felt like. On that Obama high. What’s next? Focus on the neighbourhood. Start where you come from. I went small with 65 kids at my school. It was $10 million over 9 years. How am I going to come up with that? It can be heart, passion, mentorship, not necessarily money. I’m going on 12 years now.

Q: Being a technology creator, are you worried about the dangers of AI in the future?

AD: We feel incredible responsibility about what we’re doing, and our role in steering humans. Focusing technology on stuff that isn’t a real problem. Let’s focus on eradicate poverty, not how to deliver burritos faster.

AD closes by thanking the panellists. “Don’t be a phone ho”.

Entertaining session. 4 stars.

Dell Technologies World 2019 – Media Session – Architecting Innovation in a Multi-Cloud World – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2019.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Media, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from Media & Analyst Conference Session II – Architecting Innovation in a Multi-Cloud World: Chairman Q&A with Michael Dell; Discussion with Jeff Clarke and Pat Gelsinger.


Q and A with Michael Dell

MD: We’re innovating like crazy across our businesses.

Q: As organisations begin to adopt more technology, they’re adding more risks too. How does Dell mitigate this risk of lock-in if they choose to go all in with Dell?

MD: Customers don’t want to be systems integrators anymore. What we do is broad, but the alternative could be 20 companies. Our breadth has been resonating with customers. They want fewer companies to deal with. Part of this is the sense of urgency that is a function of this digital transformation. Customers have to be reimagining what they’re doing. And they need to do it quickly.  Fewer partners and industry consolidation will be the trend.

Q: In the context of data privacy and security, can you talk about the Secureworks Red Cloak offering.

MD: We’re now offering Red Cloak. Secureworks grew up in the last 20 years helping customers solve an important problem. You buy all these different security products, but you don’t know what to do with all the events, indicators. Yo need to build an AI engine to deal with it. Only Secureworks could use this engine though. Customers wanted the capability for themselves, the ability to customise it. Will open up a new set of capabilities for customers to deal with al these threats. The ingenuity of the bad folks out there is stunning. The bad guys are using AI and ML and the cloud too.

Q: A lot of the announcements today had the VMware brand on them. Are you going to differentiate?

MD: We are VMware, VMware is us. The collaboration has never been greater. We own over 80% of VMware. VCF was created a couple of years – seamlessly move applications across on-premises through to public cloud and the edge. Partnership with VMware is only getting stronger, and it’s what customers wanted.

The DT Cloud is inclusive of the VMware cloud, but also uses the Dell EMC infrastructure. Starting with VxRail, but this will extend.

Q: Dell is investing in startups in India. We talk about diversity, but how do you remove biases from AI and ML?

MD: DT Capital has invested in over 90 startups all over the world. Unconscious bias is a significant problem. We’re experimenting in our hiring and Human Resources to try and ensure bias is not reflected in our activities. We’re trying to work it out. Make sure these technologies reflect our humanity.

Q: I’m interested in SME. Indian SMEs are in the millions. They are different to SMEs in the US, or other parts of the world. How is Dell looking at this pool of business potential?

MD: We love large customers, but also small and medium. When have had a specific strategy to invest and grow that part of the business. 18 countries have a specific small business focus. Take a very local approach. Attractive growth vector for the company. All companies start small. We want to serve those companies from their beginnings. This new technology will unleash new business models. We strive to be the best provider of capabilities, and it has to be highly localised.

Q: Dell Technology Cloud is for on-premises. VCF is AWS, SoftLayer. Are you going to do DTCloud in your own DCs?

MD: No, we’re not going to build our own DCs. We have over 4000 VMware partners, and Azure. Customers will be able to move workloads between those partners, and their on-premises cloud. Appliances have been created that are highly autonomous. Take away the management overhead of having 1000s of ppl managing this stuff. We believe there will be a boom in edge computing. We have a consistent way to manage all of that.

Q: Can we expect at some point in the future that we might see AzureStack or OpenStack running on-premises from you?

MD: Yes. Trend of the public cloud services finding their way on-premises. True definition of multi-cloud.

Q: HPE signed up with Nutanix. Are these announcements a strategy to beat out the competition.

MD: We’ve already beat these companies in HCI. No-one has a better hybrid cloud strategy. It’s an admission from HPE that their strategy is not working well. If you’re going to get in a brawl, take the first punch, and make it a good one.

Q: With the Secureworks announcement today. Moore’s Law is facing its end. Intel delaying chips for PCs. Something is slowing down. You’re a big customer – what do you do?

MD: Our next speakers know a bit more about this. There have been supply challenges in the microprocessor area. We’re dealing with it. Seeing dramatic advancements in compute power, not just in CPUs, but GPUs.

Q: DCaaS and Workspace One – what’s the impact on Dell’s channel partners, MSPs and VARs?

MD: Partners are embracing multi-cloud. Looking to us to extend our capabilities further into the cloud.

Q: You paint a compelling picture of a new age of miracles. How do we bring these to emerging markets? What other miracles do you imagine will come?

MD: I don’t know that I have a perfect answer. Creating a more inclusive world is super important. Other miracles? The combinatorial inventions of the future are hard to predict. We can think about the ingredients. 5G, AI. There will be a massive wave of innovation. Technology has been an enormous force for good. Exactly how? I don’t think people know just yet.

Q: AWS can do stuff in days, but SDDC from DTC is 30 days.

MD: We under promise, and over deliver.


Pat Gelsinger and Jeff Clarke

Q: What functional changes have occurred? To mash together VMware and Dell Technologies together.

Jeff: Pat and VMware are still independent. But we’ve changed the collaboration dynamic. How do we do HCI? Common data services? Compute? We’ve broken down the traditional layers that existed between us.

Pat: The financial restructuring, hasn’t changed the operational model.

Q: Project Dimension is significantly new.

Pat: Today’s announcement on the unified workspace is a big deal.

Jeff: Unified Workspace – VMware, Secureworks, Dell PCs, Dell support. Dell Technologies Cloud. There’s the platform side – VCF on VxRail out of the factory. There’s the DC managed as a service component.

Q: Who’s going to build a VMware ecosystem on Azure?

Pat: The offerings of VMC on AWS is a VMware-offered solution. VMW on Azure is a Microsoft offered service. Google Anthos – it’s a directional announcement.

Q: A key element to digital workspace is security. Workspace One is not a full IAM suite.

Pat: The Workspace One model is that most places have picked an IAM solution already. We federate. And uniformly deploy that across all of the devices.

Jeff: You might be pleasantly surprised in the future. Creating a substrate to allow the 7 businesses to work as one.

Q: Will you support OpenStack?

Pat: OpenStack competes with VCF. We’ve embraced the interfaces. We do deliver VIO. Builds on top of VMware Cloud Foundation. We announced support for OpenShift on top of the VMware SDDC solution. We also have PKS competing with OpenShift.

Q: Are you considering that Nutanix is your first challenger? And what about NTNX and Dell now?

Pat: Dell has the broadest offering, ecosystem. There are competitors. Microsoft, RedHat, NTNX. VMware is ahead of all of those. Regarding HCI, VxRail is now the leader. We’re growing much faster than #2 in the marketplace.

Jeff: There is no doubt in our mind about what our preferred solution is that we take to our customers. If customers want choice, we can offer choice. But we will lead with our own IP (Dell and VMware).

Q: The biggest drawback to all of this seems to be maturity and vendor lock-in. How do you guys address that?

Jeff: Customers want lifecycle management. They want it to be easier to deploy and manage. That’s what we’ve done with VMware and VxRail.

Pat: Customers want fewer, more strategic vendors. Less attention looking at the lower part of the stack. Our objective is to give them solutions that allow them to look up. But that can be seen as taking away choice. VMware strategy has been to keep open interfaces at every layer, and keep choices open. Trying to balance both of those.

Q: Having been in the PC business, what new form factor do you see coming in the future? Do you see voice becoming a key part of the interface?

Jeff: We don’t need another form factor. We are going to evolve to a world with a natural user interface with these products. Will become unconstrained from the keyboard and mouse. Augmented reality. 5G and low latency data. Experience across a 5” device through to 100” device will continue. That’s more interesting than what our new notebooks will look like. It’s much more about the rich, immersive experiences.

Informative session in places. 4 stars.

Dell Technologies World 2019 – Tuesday General Session – Innovation to Unlock Your Digital Future – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2019.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Media, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my very rough notes from Tuesday’s General Session “Innovation to Unlock Your Digital Future” at Dell Technologies World 2019.

Jeff Clarke takes the stage. Dell is creating a substrate, with

  • Dell Technologies Unified Workspace;
  • Dell Technologies Cloud; and
  • VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.

It’s the “Data Era”, and you need to focus on your “data capital”. IT has to modernise to meet the data needs of today and tomorrow. Dell is investing in data management and data services.

  1. Powerful and modern infrastructure to handle things like AI / ML
  2. You’ll need a hybrid cloud strategy for your multi-cloud strategy
  3. The edge is coming. 25% of all data volume will be real-time generated at the edge
  4. Software-defined
  5. It’s about a modern workforce experience

Five generations spanning the workforce today. Generation Z is the latest. Focus on workforce, IT, application, and security transformation.

[Customer testimonial video – Under Armour]

John Roese, President and CTO, takes the stage. We’re creating more data than we ever have before. That’s the fuel of the modern enterprise. But all the data and algorithms don’t matter if we can’t turn that into value quickly. You need the Cloud – core – edge working as a system



There are 2 types of edges. The first type are entities that are smart and mobile – people. Keeping them productive is a focus. A new range of laptops is announced – the 7000, 5000, 3000.

Rahul Tikoo takes the stage to talk with John about laptops …

And a new dock.

The second edge is dominated by IoT and sensors. We are redistributing IT back out into the real world – in hospitals, factories. 5G is about distributing compute into the edge. You need to be able to deliver IT anywhere it’s needed. And it needs to be hardened, resilient. Roese talks about Dell Technologies as being a strategic partner to most telcos. They’re helping companies building not just smart factories, but “insightful” factories.

The edge – it’s where most of the data is created and where most of the action happens.



The core is becoming more distributed and multi-cloud is becoming important for workload migration.

  • Scale up and scale out
  • NVMe and SCM
  • SW-defined
  • Cloud-enabled
  • Trusted
  • Built-in AI/ML

From a PowerEdge perspective, Dell EMC announced the Dell EMC DSS 8440. You can add up to 10 accelerators, such as Nvidia GPUs.


From a storage perspective, there have been a few announcements, including

  • A new Isilon model, and support for up to 58PB, and 252 nodes;
  • PowerMax is now supports dual-ported storage class memory – using it as a primary tier of storage; and
  • The new Unity XT range has been announced.

Craig Bernero takes the stage to talk about the XT and Dell EMC Cloud Storage Services. There’s a brief CloudIQ demo.

Data Protection

Beth Phalen takes the stage with John to talk about data protection. Data protection requirements are changing. They still have IDPA, DPS, and Data Domain. They now also have PowerProtect.

  • X400 – Multi-dimensional data protection appliance
  • Software-defined offering as well
  • Scale out or “grow in place”

First ever all-flash data management appliance. PowerProtect demo.

Roese: “It’s not secondary storage – it’s protected, managed infrastructure”.


Strategy has been focus on the future. The Dell EMC networking range has now been rebranded as PowerSwitch.

Roese says they’ve always built products for the hybrid cloud. Dell are most used hardware and software to build clouds (public and private) – whatever that means. Chad Dunn takes the stage and talks about all things VxRail and Pivotal, including VxRail Analytical Consulting Engine (ACE).

Roese says “every industry will go through these transformations. You can’t execute it with just a great product, or a great data centre. You need a great modern essential infrastructure”.

Jeff Clarke comes back on stage. By next year we’ll have finished modernising the entire Dell EMC portfolio

[Customer testimonial video – Home Depot]



Pat Gelsinger takes the stage and talks about the “superpowers of tech”

  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • AI / ML
  • Edge / IoT

“If I take your AMEX, I can build a 10000-core supercomputer over the weekend. If I take Michael’s AMEX, I can build the world’s biggest super computer”

VMware’s Vision has been “any cloud, any application, any device”

3 laws of hybrid cloud

  • Physics – low latency. You can’t do 250ms RTT if you want 50ms response time.
  • Economics – intelligence at the edge
  • Land – if it needs to be on-premises then you can’t take it to the public cloud

VxRail as a core unit of computing


“Everyone needs to become a great software company”

VMware PKS

  • Enterprise PKS
  • Essential PKS
  • Cloud PKS (Beta)

Laptop / edge announcements dominated the conversation, rather than some of the cool storage stuff. Interesting. I’ll have some more coverage of the storage and data protection announcements soon. 3 stars.

Dell Technologies World 2019 – Monday General Session – The Architects of Innovation – Rough Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2019.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Media, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my very rough notes from Monday’s General Session “The Architects of Innovation” at Dell Technologies World 2019.

Michael Dell takes the stage. Time is flying by. And we’re inspired by what you all have accomplished. Fearlessly facing into the digital future.

We’ve created the “Essential Infrastructure Company”. We’ve invested more than $20B in R&D in the last 5 years, and the 35th birthday of the company is coming up. Dell has always been a culture about technology optimism. People are at the centre of everything we do.

Global life expectancy is up, vaccinations are up, Global GDP is up. The next 3 decades will have more progress than ever before. We’ll possibly see the eradication of deafness. A new age of miracles is just around the corner.

We’re creating a digital twin of reality. Ensure technology reflects our humanity and values. Fire can burn a village, but it also warms the home. Technology can improve out lives, but it comes with challenges. The aim is for better lives on a global scale. This is why we all come together. Through million of actions, we’re working with you to build a better world.

Draper Labs in Massachusetts (customer video)

Northern California Campfire, 2018 – So much more data coming from satellites. Opportunity to put all of that together. Learning the full story to understand how to solve these problems in the future. MD recognises the team from Draper.

It’s a time of unprecedented progress. Driving new digital native models and services. Technology is the enabler of progress. Its impact is far beyond what it used to been the IT organisation. Every organisation needs to reimagine itself in the new digital age.

The story starts with a tsunami of data. It’s our greatest asset and most important resource. It’s completely renewable and inexhaustible. Turning that data into action and progress and success is at the heart of digital transformation.

  • Computing power
  • Artificial intelligence
  • 5G

We’re doing this through

  • VMware – virtualising all of your infrastructure (including the network)
  • Partnering with all of the public clouds
  • Edge – core – multi-cloud

Pivotal is fast becoming the leading platform for developing apps in the multi-cloud world.

“Dell Technologies is truly better together”

Secureworks – Red Cloak Threat Detection & Response announcement

Bank of America is transforming into a leading digital organisation. Cathy Bessant says they “need a lot of data to be effective”. They share a strategic understanding of the importance of trust. Don’t get lost in some ethereal concept of access. Requirements change at the pace of a consumer, not at the speed of enterprise. Speed, iterative thought, knowing the answers before the questions are known. Whatever got us to this point will not get us to the future. We are only as good as the sum of our great partnerships.

MD says whether you’re a powerhouse or a farmhouse – you matter to us. The future is AI-powered and software-defined

Jeff Clarke takes the stage. What a time to be in the technology sector. Data-centric workloads are changing the way we work. There’s a new distributed edge. New entrants to the workforce – “Digital natives” – mixing personal and work in a very time sliced way. IT has to respond by modernising its methods. IT has become an integral part of the business. Holistic solutions from the edge to the core to the cloud

What’s next?

Worked with Pat Gelsinger in the industry over the last 30 years. Need to drive smarter and simpler IT in this era. Pat Gelsinger joins Jeff on the stage.

Modernise the PC experience while eliminating complexity. Simpler is always better.

  • 81% workforce outside of traditional office
  • 76% work in 2 or more places
  • 52% work in more than 3 places weekly

Companies need engaged employees. Mobile, multi-device workforce. IT needs to provision and deploy simply and securely. It’s a complex problem. Users need simpler provisioning, deployment, processes. Users want the modern, mobile device experience

Dell Technologies Unified Workspace announcement

  • Extended PCaaS capabilities
  • Deploy, secure, manage and support
  • PCs from Dell – rent, buy, or lease

Gelsinger – Public and Private need to work together

  • 93% applications use multiple clouds
  • 5+ cloud architectures used
  • $120B new hardware spend for on-premises private clouds through 2022
  • $100B software & services spend through 2022

With this evolution, you get a lot of complexity. So much of the work of the last decade has been “solving silos”. Complexity of cloud silos is slowing down adoption. Where’s your data? Storing it, protecting it, backing it up?

Jeff: Is it time for a better cloud?

Pat: I think it is.

Read more about Dell Technologies Cloud powered by VMware here.

  • Remove the complexity, and control the chaos in a multi-cloud world.
  • Hybrid done right.
  • Consistent infrastructure across all of your environments. IaaS and PaaS across all of your environments. Support for PKS and containers. Consume on a monthly basis.
  • VxRail now fully supports VCF. PowerMax and Unity are VCF-ready.

Pat: Project Dimension – DCaaS. VMware Cloud on Dell EMC – working on bringing it to market this year.

People go the cloud because it’s easier, not necessarily cheaper or better.

  • VMware-operated end-to-end
  • Hybrid cloud control plane
  • VMware SDDC delivered on Dell EMC VxRail
  • Co-engineered & delivered by Dell Technologies

June Yang, VP, Engineering and Product Management, VMware comes on stage with Pat to do a demo.

  • All-inclusive subscription price
  • Start as small as 3 nodes
  • Control plane stays on-premises
  • Available H2 2019

Jeff leaves the stage. Michael comes back on the join Pat.

MD: We’ve been talking a lot about multi-cloud, and the importance of choice and flexibility. Distributed innovation, and interoperability among the leading companies. Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) joins them on the stage. Read more about the Microsoft, Dell Technologies and VMware announcement here.

Azure VMware solutions – best of VMware and the best of Azure. VCF into Azure.

MD: Back when we started working with Microsoft, it was all about the PC. Now we’re talking about cloud resources. The PC is still and important part of what we’re all doing.

Satya: We’ve always been working to empower employees. Windows 10 has momentum – 800 million devices out there. Microsoft 365 has become the essential tool for collaboration, security and compliance.

Pat: Workspace One, Office 365, Microsoft 365, Windows 10, Azure Active Directory coming together

How about NSX and Azure networking? How can we bring Azure services on-premises on VMware?

Pat and Satya leave the stage.

MD: Customers are at the centre of everything we do.

Cloud-agnostic interoperability. Cleaner world, humane world, working across the ecosystem to solve our challenges

Karen Quintos (Chief Customer Officer) takes the stage. It’s great to see when technology takes a key role in solving problems. But it’s people behind the technology. Phoebe’s story – 3D-printed prosthetics. Read more about e-NABLE here.

MD joins Karen on stage.

“Our mission is to advance human progress”.

Solid session. 4 stars.

Dell – Dell Technologies World 2019 – See You Soon Las Vegas

This is a quick post to let you all know that I’ll be heading to Dell’s annual conference (Dell Technologies World) this year in Las Vegas, NV. I’m looking forward to catching up with some old friends and meeting some new ones. If you haven’t registered yet but feel like that’s something you might want to do – the registration page is here. To get a feel for what’s on offer, you can check out the agenda here. I’m looking forward to hearing more about stuff like this.

I’ll also be participating in a Tech Field Day Extra event at Dell Technologies World. You can check out the event page for that here.

Massive thanks to Konstanze and Debbie from Dell for organising the “influencer” pass for me. Keep an eye out for me at the conference and surrounding events and don’t be afraid to come and say hi (if you need a visual – think Grandad Wolverine).

Random Short Take #12

Here are a few links to some random news items and other content that I found interesting. You might find it interesting too. Maybe.

  • I’ve been a fan of Backblaze for some time now, and I find their blog posts useful. This one, entitled “A Workflow Playbook for Migrating Your Media Assets to a MAM“, was of particular interest to me.
  • Speaking of Backblaze, this article on SSDs and reliability should prove useful, particularly if you’re new to the technology. And the salty comments from various readers are great too.
  • Zerto just announced the myZerto Labs Program as a way for “IT professionals to test, understand and experiment with the IT Resilience Platform using virtual infrastructure”. You can sign up here.
  • If you’re in the area, I’m speaking at the Sydney VMUG UserCon on Tuesday 19th March. I’ll be covering how to “Build Your Personal Brand by Starting and Maintaining a Blog”. It’s more about blogging than branding, but I’m hoping there’s enough to keep the punters engaged. Details here. If you can’t get along to the event, I’ll likely publish the deck on this site in the near future.
  • The nice people at Axellio had some success at the US Air Force Pitch Day recently. You can read more about that here.
  • UltraViolet is going away. This kind of thing is disheartening (and a big reason why I persist in buying physical copies of things still).
  • I’m heading to Dell Technologies World this year. Michael was on the TV recently, talking about the journey and looking ahead. You can see more here.

Dell EMC News From VMworld US 2018

I’m not at VMworld US this year, but I had the opportunity to be briefed by Sam Grocott (Dell EMC Cloud Strategy) on some of Dell EMC‘s key announcements during the event, and thought I’d share some of my rough notes and links here. You can read the press release here.


It is a multi-cloud world. Multi-cloud requires workload mobility. The market requires a consistent experience between on-premises and off-premises. Dell EMC are doing some more stuff around that.


Cloud Platforms

Dell EMC offer a number of engineered systems to run both IaaS and cloud native applications.


Starting with vSphere 6.7, Dell EMC are saying they’re delivering “near” synchronous software releases between VMware and VxRail. In this case that translates to a less than 30 Day delta between releases. There’s also support for:

VxRack SDDC with VMware Cloud Foundation

  • Support for latest VCF releases – VCF 2.3.2, and future proof for next generation VMware cloud technologies
  • Alignment with VxRail hardware options – P, E, V series VxRail models, now including Storage Dense S-series
  • Configuration flexibility


Cloud-enabled Infrastructure

Focus is on the data

  • Cloud data mobility;
  • Cloud data protection;
  • Cloud data services; and
  • Cloud control.

Cloud Data Protection

  • DD Cloud DR – keep copies of VM data from on-premises DD to public cloud and orchestrate failover of workloads to the cloud
  • Data Protection Suite – use cloud storage for backup and retention
  • Cloud Snapshot Manager – Backup and recovery for public cloud workloads (Now MS Azure)
  • Data Domain virtual edition running in the cloud

DD VE 4.0 Enhancements

  • KVM support added for DD VE on-premises
  • In-cloud capacity expanded to 96TB (was 16TB)
  • Can run in AWS, Azure and VMware Cloud

Cloud Data Services

Dell EMC have already announced services such as:

And now you can get Dell EMC UnityVSA Cloud Edition.

UnityVSA Cloud Edition

[image courtesy of Dell EMC]

  • Up to 256TB file systems
  • VMware Cloud on AWS


  • No cost, SaaS offering
  • Predictive analytics – intelligently project capacity and performance
  • Anomaly detection – leverage ML to pinpoint deviations
  • Proactive health – identify risks before they impact the environment

Enhancements include:

Data Domain Cloud Tier

There are some other Data Domain related enhancements, including new AWS support (meaning you can have a single vendor for Long Term Retention).


ECS enhancements have also been announced, with a 50%+ increase in storage capacity and compute.



As would be expected from a company with a large portfolio of products, there’s quite a bit happening on the product enhancement front. Dell EMC are starting to get that they need to be on-board with those pesky cloud types, and they’re also doing a decent job of ensuring their private cloud customers have something to play with as well.

I’m always a little surprised by vendors offering “Cloud Editions” of key products, as it feels a lot like they’re bolting on something to the public cloud when the focus could perhaps be on helping customers get to a cloud-native position sooner. That said, there are good economic reasons to take this approach. By that I mean that there’s always going to be someone who thinks they can just lift and shift their workload to the public cloud, rather than re-factoring their applications. Dell EMC are providing a number of ways to make this a fairly safe undertaking, and products like Unity Cloud Edition provide some nice features such as increased resilience that would be otherwise lacking if the enterprise customer simply dumped its VMs in AWS as-is. I still have hope that we’ll stop doing this as an industry in the near future and embrace some smarter ways of working. But while enterprises are happy enough to spend their money on doing things like they always have, I can’t criticise Dell EMC for wanting a piece of the pie.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Wrap-up and Link-o-rama

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here’s a quick post with links to the other posts I did surrounding Dell Technologies World 2018, as well as links to other articles I found interesting.


Product Announcements

Here’re the posts I did covering the main product-related announcements from the show.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Dell EMC Announces PowerMax

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Dell EMC Announces XtremIO Enhancement and PowerEdge Updates

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Dell EMC (H)CI Updates



Here’re the posts I did during the show. These were mainly from the media sessions I attended.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Monday General Session – The Engines Of Human Progress – Rough Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Meet the Chairman – Rough Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Tuesday General Session – Power Up To Make IT Real – Rough Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – Wednesday General Session – Technologies & Trends That Are Changing The World – Rough Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.13 – XtremIO X2 Native Replication: Use Cases, Architecture and Best Practices Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.38 – Dell EMC Unity: Performance Best Practices Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.27 – Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions Notes

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.12 – XtremIO X2: An Architectural Deep Dive Notes


Dell Technologies Announcements

Here are some of the posts from Dell Technologies covering the major product announcements and news.

Michael Dell Kicks Off Dell Technologies World 2018

Dell Technologies Updates VDI Complete Solutions and Unveils its Most Versatile Thin Client Ever

Dell Technologies Makes Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Real

Dell Technologies Accelerates Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Portfolio Growth; Simplifies Path to VMware-based Clouds

Dell Technologies Powers Up Performance and Efficiency for the Modern Data Center

Dell Technologies Powers Up the Modern Data Center and Future of Work

Dell Technologies and Microsoft Collaborate to Help Customers Simplify Delivery of IoT Solutions



I had a busy but enjoyable week. I would have liked the get to more of the technical sessions, but being given access to some of the top executives in the company via the Press, Media and Influencers program was invaluable. You might have also noticed that the product announcements weren’t as abundant as in previous years. People inside Dell Technologies tell me this is because there’s been a lot more focus on making sure things are working before they announce (or ship) products. Thanks again to Dell Technologies (particularly Debbie Friez and Konnie) for having me along to the show. Now, please enjoy this picture of my good friend Jon Klaus at the Customer Appreciation Party.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.12 – XtremIO X2: An Architectural Deep Dive Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the storage.12 session. This was presented by Rami Katz and Zvi Schneider, and covered XtremIO X2: An Architectural Deep Dive.

XtremIO X2


  • 4x better rack density
  • 1/3 effective price $/GB
  • Multi-dimensional scaling
  • 25% DRR enhancements


  • Expanded iCDM capabilities
  • QoS
  • Metadata-aware replication


  • 80% lower application latency
  • 2x better copy operations
  • Hardware


  • Simple HTML5 GUI
  • Intelligent reporting and troubleshooting
  • Guided workflows


Software-driven architecture driving efficiency and performance

Brute force approach limits enhancements (eg faster chips, more cores). With this approach you can average 20 – 30% performance improvement every year to 18 months. You need to have software innovation.


XtremIO Content Addressable Storage (CAS) Architecture

The ability to move data quickly and efficiently using metadata indexing to reduce physical data movement within the array, between XtremIO arrays or between XtremIO and other arrays / the cloud (not in this release).


XtremIO In-line, all-the-time data services

  • Thin provisioning – all volumes thin; optimised for data saving
  • Deduplication – inline – block written once, no post-process
  • Compression – inline – compressed blocks only, no post-process
  • XtremIO Virtual Copies – super efficient – in-memory metadata copy
  • [email protected] – Always on encryption with no performance impact
  • XtremIO Data Protection – Single “RAID Model” double parity w/ 84% useable


XtremIO Virtual Copies (XVC)

  • Performance – read, write and latency as volume
  • Space efficient – no metadata bloat, no space reservation, no moving blocks
  • In-memory – instant creation, immediate deletion, flexible topology, unrestricted refresh
  • Flash optimised – identical data services, always on, always inline



  • X2: All the goodness at 1/3 the GBu price of X1
  • X1: High WPD SSD
  • X2: Low WPD (write per day), 4x denser DAE = greater economies of scale

In X1 as you grow capacity, $/GB is the same, in X2 it gets less as capacity increases


Better Controller Cost Amortisation

  • X1 – 40TB in 6RU
  • X2 – 138TB in 4RU
  • X2 (Future) – 230TB in 4RU


Multi-dimensional Scaling, Hardware Platform and Improved scaling granularity 

  • X2 – up to 72 drives, start with 18, go up in increments of 6 (138TB RAW per Brick). 4 Bricks of 550TB (effective 2.7PB assuming 6:1 data reduction). Scale up in X2 Platform.
  • Resilience – 2 simultaneous SSD failures per XDP group (36 drives)
  • Using an efficient compression algorithm – Intelligent packing algorithm, systems typically experience ~2-3:1 compression ratio

SQL example – even with native compression enabled get some additional array compression



  • 80% lower application latency
  • 2x better copy operations

Install base – over 65% of write Its are small <= 8KB


Write Flow – X1

Flow overview:

  • Write arrives
  • Find compute module
  • Calculate hash – read old data if needed
  • Send to data module
  • Harden data
  • Acknowledge host


Write Flow – X2 with Write Boost

Flow overview

  • Write arrives
  • Find compute module
  • Harden data
  • Acknowledge host

Huge latency improvement, mainly for small IOs


Write Flow – X2 De-Stage

  • Write transactions are aggregated, improving efficiency and bandwidth
  • Benefit from IO folding


Hardware and Models

X-Brick: X2S 7.2TB – 28.8TB – Cluster Building Block

  • 48 Haswell cores
  • 768GB RAM
  • 8 Host ports (2 16Gbps FC and 2 10Gbps iSCSI per controller)
  • Up to 72 SSDs


X-Brick: X2-R 34.5TB – 138.2TB – Cluster Building Block

  • 48 Haswell cores
  • 2TB RAM
  • 8 Host ports (2 16Gbps FC and 2 10Gbps iSCSI per controller)
  • Up to 72 SSDs


New X-Brick Configuration

Configuration X-Brick Minimum (RAW) X-Brick Maximum (RAW) Cluster Size in X-Bricks
X2-S 7.2TB 28.8TB Up to 4
X2-T 34.5TB 69.1TB 1*
X2-R 34.5TB 138.2TB 4 (current)

8 (future)

X2-T – If you think you’ll get to X2-R, it would be more cost effective to go to that straight away



NVRAM – People didn’t like the BBU, so they got that sorted for the X2.


NVRAM – Components Failure – Method of Operation



Xpanded iCDM Capabilities

  • 60% of all XtremIO Volumes are Copies – a large number of XVC copies are writeable
  • 10% of clusters > 500 writable copies
  • 5% of clusters > 1000 writable copies

Other iCDM Statistics

  • Average # of copies has doubled in X2 vs X1
  • 90% of XtremIO iCDM clusters use writable copies
  • Max 6700 writable copies per cluster
  • Average writable copies per volume -5 copies
  • Average copies per volume – 12 copies

2x the number of XVC copies


Metadata-aware Replication

A superior method for efficient data replication

  • Unique blocks only
  • Globally unique (not just at the volume / consistency group level)
  • Changes only
  • Compressed


Global Dedupe = Global Savings

Replication Use Cases

Unified view for local and remote protection

Easy Operation, Best Protection, Superior Performance

You can read more about XtremIO Native Replication here.



Redesigned User Interface

  • Simple and intuitive
  • 1-2-3 provisioning
  • Tagging and search
  • HTML5 (no Java)
    • Nothing to install
    • Popular browser support


Flexible provisioning flows – next step suggestions


New Reports

  • Weekly peaks
  • Latency heat map
  • Block distribution

“X2 evolves every frontier that X1 redefined”



Better iCDM with QoS

  • Max IOPS or Bandwidth for every volume or consistency group
    • Protect workloads based on importance e.g. critical applications and multi-tenant environments
  • Burst mode gracefully handles applications that temporarily exceed max IOPS



Is synchronous replication on the roadmap? Give us a little time. It’s not coming this year. You could use VPLEX in the interim.

How about CloudIQ? CloudIQ support is coming in September

What about X1? It’s going end of sale for new systems. You can still expand clusters. Not sure about any buyback programs. You can keep X1 for years though. We give a 7 year flash guarantee.

X2 is sticking with InfiniBand and SAS, why not NVMe? Right now it’s expensive. We have it running in the labs. We’re getting improvements in software. Remember X2 came out 6 months ago. Can’t really talk too much more.


Solid session. 3.5 stars.

Dell Technologies World 2018 – storage.27 – Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions Notes

Disclaimer: I recently attended Dell Technologies World 2018.  My flights, accommodation and conference pass were paid for by Dell Technologies via the Press, Analysts and Influencers program. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Here are my rough notes from the storage.27 session. This was presented by John Hayden, VP Software Engineering, Unstructured Data Storage, and covered Isilon: What’s New in 2018 & Future Directions. This is a futures session, so some of this may not come to pass exactly as it was described here, and there are no dates. The choice was to talk about dates, with no technical details, or talk technical details, but no dates. Option 2 made for a more entertaining session.

Momentum with Isilon – >3.5 EB shipped calendar year 2017


What’s new since DEW 2017?

What’s new since 2017?

  • Release of OneFS 8.1
  • New generation of Isilon hardware products
    • All-Flash
    • Hybrid
    • Archive
  • 3 year satisfaction guarantee


Isilon hardware design: compute


  • 4 nodes in 4U chassis
  • Intel Broadwell CPU optimised compute to drive ratios
  • Up to 6TB cache per node
  • No single points of failure
  • Networking flexibility: InfiniBand, 10GbE / 40GbE


  • 4:1 reduction in RU
  • Optimised IOPS and throughput
  • Future-proof, enduring design: Snap-in next-gen compute, networks
  • New levels of modular, hot-swappable serviceability


Isilon hardware design: storage


  • From 72TB to 924TB in 4RU
  • 5 drive sleds per node. 3 to 6 drives per sled
  • Front aisle, hot swap sleds and drives
  • Media flexibility: Flash, SAS, and SATA media

The Isilon Family – mix of performance and capacity


Isilon OneFS Enhancements

  • Improved performance driven by software improvements enable new workloads
  • Updated support with leading analytics vendors like Cloudera and HortonWorks
  • New cloud tiering options along with multi-cloud support
  • Ethernet back-end infrastructure support
  • Improved handling of small files for healthcare PACS
  • IsilonSD Edge software defined storage now supported on PowerEdge servers along with vSAN and VxRail
  • Data in flight encryption for improved security


Behind the Scenes

Relentless focus on quality & customer experience

  • Isilon engineering organised into CX, 8.X & Innovation acceleration
  • Corporate Dell-wide quality standards and KPIs
  • Tremendous improvement in support and support capabilities
  • Code base in the field is 50% composed of releases in the last 18 months and that is continuing to dramatically accelerate

Results: explosive growth in 8.1 and Gen6 implementation


Isilon Pillars of Innovation

  • Flash
  • Archive – great integration with ECS
  • Cloud – cloud pools v1 is already out
  • Analytics – Nautilus, IoT – a lot sits on Isilon and ECS


Where we’re investing

Storage challenges

  • Rapid data growth
  • Data solos
  • Cost of infrastructure
  • Insufficient perf
  • Limited IT resources


Addressing data growth

Isilon Today

  • Scale-out architecture
  • Scales from 10s of TB to 50+ PB in a single cluster
  • 144 nodes maximum cluster size
  • Provision storage only as needed
  • Simplified management at PB scale
  • Automated tiering between storage tiers and cloud


  • 250+ node cluster size and L/S
  • Cluster aware NDMP
  • Partitioned performance for insights
  • System services QoS
  • Rich filesystem analytics


Addressing Data silos

Isilon Today

  • Multi-protocol namespace ideal for infrastructure consolidation
  • Supports unified data lake
  • Enterprise grade features
  • Edge-to-core-to-cloud solution
  • In-place analytics support


  • File and object integration – CloudPools 2 – snapshots will work, and quotas.
  • Increased support for emerging data analytics technologies including streaming analytics*


Addressing Infrastructure Cost

Isilon Today

  • Up to 80% storage efficiency
  • Optimised data placement and tiering
  • Flexible deduplication
  • Seamless cloud integration
  • Investment protection – no rip and replace


  • Cloud co-location
  • Inline compression and dedupe for Flash
  • CloudPools v2 with tiering snaps and quotas
  • Writable snapshots


Addressing System Performance Needs

Isilon Today

  • OneFS optimised for Flash
  • New All-Flash configuration
  • 6x IOPS and 11x throughput
  • Optimised compute to drive ratios
  • Reduced latency / write optimisation


  • Inline compression and dedupe for Flash
  • File create / delete improvements
  • Streaming improvements (multi-block reads, degraded reads)
  • Performance at scale (cluster, snaps, domains)
  • Large file size
  • Partitioned performance


Addressing Manageability Needs

Isilon Today

  • Simple to manage at any scale
  • Single file system
  • Policy based automation
  • Choice of management tools
  • API / web services “first” model


  • On cluster and off cluster UI revolution – including next-generation cluster management technology
  • Cluster integrated authentication
  • Unchained delivery cadence and innovation posture
  • Predictive and prescriptive management


Addressing Data protection and security needs

Isilon Today

  • Enterprise data protection features
  • Tolerate up to 4 simultaneous failures
  • WORM, SEDs, RBAC, access zone, compliance
  • Improved failure domain with mirrored journal and boot drive
  • Improved handling of drive failure


  • Multi-factor auth for SSH
  • RBAC per AZ
  • Secure protocols optimisations
  • Enhanced Federal support


“Simple is Smart” with Isilon


  • Single volume, single file system architecture


  • Expands easily from 10s of TB to 10s of PB without disruption


  • Up to 80% storage utilisation
  • Automated tiering and cloud integration

Data Analytics

  • In-place, high performance data analytics

Data Protection

  • Highly resilient architecture, data replication and snapshots

Security and compliance

  • WORM, data at rest encryption, role-based access control, and more


Top session. 5 stars.