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.