Dell debuts Dell EMC PowerOne, CTO says competition incapable of ‘doing what we’re doing’ in automation space

AUSTIN — Dell Technologies is combining its compute, storage and networking portfolios into a single autonomous system called Dell EMC PowerOne, with its subsidiary VMware acting as the glue to help manage multiple clouds.

The unveil took place at the Dell Technologies Summit Tuesday. John Roese, president and chief technology officer of products and operations, said PowerOne is far ahead of the competition’s attempts at building autonomous infrastructures.

“The rest of the industry candidly isn’t capable of doing what we’re doing because we’re automating the entire compute storage network infrastructure,” Roese, who was sitting with Dell founder and chief executive officer Michael Dell, told reporters during a roundtable discussion.

Dell Technologies founder and chairman Michael Dell speaking at the company’s summit event in Austin. Photo by Alex Coop.

The two were careful not to label the device as fully autonomous.

“We’re at the state now where automation can be aggressively implemented, but we have to take into account that there are human beings involved and they have to develop trust for these types of environments,” explained Roese.

That trust makes it easier for developers to focus on building applications that help the business grow, and focus less on managing the infrastructure.

“Some customers have realized that the time spent managing nerd knobs is not a productive use of their time … [with PowerOne] you don’t see Ansible or Kubernetes,” he said.

PowerOne’s controller uses a Kubernetes microservices architecture and Ansible workflows to automate the configuration, provisioning and lifecycle management of the components.

But people who do want to play around with the PowerOne’s “nerd knobs” can do just that.

“But there are lots of customers that do want to play with those nerd knobs and make configurations. Most people who build automation frameworks don’t bother to think about the second order of effects when someone makes a configuration change. You want a system that isn’t academic and actually works in the real world. That’s why it took us a few years to build this, it’s based on 10 years of doing this type of work.”

Dell  – that’s Michael Dell – said PowerOne wasn’t created in a vacuum.

“This is actually what customers asked us to create.”

With the prospect of self-driving cars looming over cities across the world, executives throughout the summit indicated the importance for this type of autonomous infrastructure to be in place.

Estimates vary, but a single, self-driving test vehicle produces roughly 10 terabytes of data in a single day of driving, according to a 2018 Accenture report, and as cars with higher autonomy levels are released to the market, cars need to handle substantially larger amounts of data.

“It behooves companies to consider data-related processes and infrastructure needs early in research and development to pre-empt the complex issues that arise as operations scale,” the report reads.

PowerOne has an obvious use case in the automotive industry, but it’s likely to gain traction in the healthcare and financial verticals as well, explained Bill Wavro, president of Dell Financial Services for Dell Technologies.

PowerOne is available through Dell Technologies On Demand, a set of consumption-based and as-a-service offerings that just added the PowerEdge server portfolio to the offering.

Dell EMC PowerOne will be globally available November 22, 2019.


*Alex Coop’s travel and hotel accommodations were covered by Dell Technologies. Dell did not review this article prior to publication.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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