Yesterday in New York City, Dell celebrated IQT Day, exploring how the Internet of Things (IoT) is making things smarter (IQ – get it?), and Dell’s role in the digitization of everything. If you weren’t able to tune in (replay), here’s my big takeaways from the day.You really can’t overstate the impact IoT will have on our world, starting now.Michael Dell reinforced that absolutely every object will soon be streamlining data, creating a second version of our physical world that is virtual, connected and can be analyzed, manipulated and managed… but only if we turn that data into actionable information, into intelligence. Organizations that do that are the ones who’ll disrupt their markets, best serve their customers and edge out their competition.Michael said sensors and processors are the jet engines propelling human potential, and data is the jet fuel. He’s right. Take AeroFarms. They’re using the Internet of Things to transform crop productivity, using less water, reducing waste in the supply chain and ultimately getting more fresh food onto our plates. Taken more broadly, think of the impact this kind of innovation can have on hunger, nutrition, food deserts, water use… the ripple effect goes on and on.So how do we make all this happen? For Dell’s part, we announced our new IoT division. This division is the best example, to date, of the Dell Technologies value proposition to customers. It spans Dell Technologies to create complete IoT solutions – from the edge to the core to the cloud – that just work for customers. We’ve asked Ray O’Farrell to lead it, and I’m happy to be serving as the executive sponsor.We also talked about the hardware (from PowerEdge servers to Edge Gateways), software (including VMWare IoT Pulse for securing and managing the edge) and partner programs we’ve established to help customers implement and make IoT real. It was a busy day and this is just the beginning.All in, we’re making a $1 billion investment into IoT; we believe the opportunity it presents for organizations of all sizes is far bigger than that. You’ll be hearing more from us in this space. Stay tuned.
Despite all of its advantages, globalization has an inherent disadvantage: It is increasing competitive pressure and forcing companies to continually become better and more efficient – at an ever-faster pace. Companies marketing their products and services on the international stage aren’t the only ones that are affected; globalization also means that foreign competitors are showing interest in entering into our domestic market. The strongest competitor is no longer necessarily from the familiar town round the corner, coming instead from Sao Paulo or Bangalore. This is thoroughly intentional; all trade agreements in a model of this kind engender a macroeconomic win-win situation. More recently, since the confusion surrounding Brexit, we have been able to anticipate the dramatic consequences that an economy without a sensible trade agreement could face.The digital age has further increased global competition. Who would have thought a few years ago that a trader from Hangzhou would grow to become one of the largest e-commerce vendors in the world, even selling t-shirts, hair curlers, garden furniture, and also machine parts for the manufacturing industry? Where is Hangzhou, anyway?There’s a promising solution to the increasing global competitive pressure: ‘digital transformation’. This stands for: optimizing processes, accelerated product development, reduced costs, better customer interactions, and a greater degree of market flexibility. The global economy has recognized that digitalization is not an option, it’s now an essential requirement needed for success in international markets.And this is where it begins to get interesting.To quote the findings of Dell Technologies’ latest market survey, the Digital Transformation Index (DT Index): “Despite the inexorable move towards a digital world, many business’ digital transformation programs are still in their infancy.”That’s expressed quite nicely. The survey was completed by 4,600 business decision-makers around the world; it indicated that only five percent of companies make up the group known as ‘digital leaders,’ a group which regards digitalization as an integral part of their DNA. A quarter of the companies consider themselves to be on the right path, having made concrete plans to digitalize and even allocating budgets already; however, more than 70 percent are proceeding rather hesitantly, cautiously testing different approaches or simply waiting until they see a need to take action.The economy has been ushering in digital transformation for many years, so this finding is rather disappointing. Five percent is not an impressive figure! Of course, there are some major hurdles when it comes to reorganizing IT (this is, in effect, what it is really about). The lack of funding is the biggest hurdle. Many companies are also concerned because they believe they won’t be able to store customer details securely any longer and don’t know how they could effectively protect themselves from cyber attacks after undergoing a process of digitalization. Another serious problem is a lack of in-house expertise, as the job market simply doesn’t have a sufficient supply of IT experts, never mind IT security experts. Running parallel to this is an often intangible cultural transformation which is necessary to drive digital transformation forward successfully. By way of example, interdisciplinary and cross-departmental cooperation puts many people off because they see their much-loved positions jeopardized by virtual project teams.The good news is that awareness has risen; after all, the vast majority of those questioned in the DT Index survey believe that digital transformation should play a considerably larger role in their companies. On the other hand, many people are also apprehensive of not being able to meet the requirements of their customers. Incidentally, one in three is pessimistic and feels left behind in the digital age.The fact that digital transformation is a complex process is nothing new. The most radical requirement is perhaps the need for management to change their way of thinking and question old models and processes. As a concept, that is obvious. But, as is often the case, the reality is different. At any rate, digitalization mustn’t fail as companies will fail without it. Markets are unforgiving; the lack of a budget doesn’t change this. Organizations must ultimately be capable of reallocating monetary funds to support digital transformation, even if that has never been done before. They must also be capable of protecting themselves against cyber attacks, because – regardless of whether they have initiated a process of digitalization or not – they don’t have any other option. They must also be capable of finding external partners when internal expertise is not enough.Five percent is not a lot of digital leaders but, on its own, this figure is certainly a good start. That being said, it’s actually quite alarming as the category of digital leaders also comprised exactly five percent of examined companies in the first Digital Transformation Index survey conducted two years ago. Not moving forwards within two years is actually a huge step backwards in the IT world. But that’s not all: German companies even saw their share drop from six to five percent. If no progression is regression, then what does that make regression?This is no reason to stick our heads in the sand. But in light of increasingly strong competition together with the greater and greater number of digitally proficient startups which are addressing markets with more flexibility and success than ever, companies had better step up their digitalization efforts quickly. As the DT Index puts it: “The time to act is now.”
Progressive enterprises are pursuing software-defined solutions with operating models powered by analytics, automation and machine communications to improve productivity, service-levels and cost structures. With hundreds of devices and sensors connecting to a network, wired connections are becoming expensive. At the same time, the mobile networks are not ready for the massive connections and the data associated with these connections coming their way.Using conventional unlicensed methods such as Wi-Fi to address the coverage and capacity is not necessarily ideal for some mission critical workloads. This is because:Wi-Fi is designed as a “best effort” service, it cannot deliver the Quality of Service (QoS) to the level most large-scale companies demand.It requires significant security to be added to the solution – a big concern for healthcare facilities and other mission critical enterprise companies that have the strictest security needsWi-Fi has limited mobility and the build out of the network has significant CAPEX and OPEX costsCitizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) will be a key catalyst and enabler for private mobility for two main reasons:Unlike Wi-Fi, it uses a licensed wireless band and LTE technology to enable guaranteed service levels for the enterprise.The Enterprise can choose to deploy CBRS enabled private Mobility-as-a-Service. Many cloud service providers/wireless ISPs are building out a subscription-based model and therefore, the data rate costs are close to zero and the deployment of the service is faster and sometimes less expensive than Wi-Fi.This is great news since CBRS will increase the adoption of 4G spectrum within the enterprise and paves the way for 5G. Earlier this month, the CBRS Alliance said it had begun work on a new release to merge with the 3GPP specification for 5G deployments.We are working with Ruckus Networks (now CommScope via acquisition) to enable massive adoption of mobile edge solutions that will be leveraging CBRS bands in 4G today and will become the foundational blocks for 5G within the enterprise. Ruckus Networks has the core components for private mobility on a public cloud infrastructure, which includes the pre-provisioned SIMs, zero-touch provisioning capabilities and self-service tools for the enterprise. The combined strengths of mobile access by Ruckus Networks and secure customer edge infrastructure by Dell Technologies enables the enterprise transformation plan.Key Requirements for the Enterprise While there are many important success factors to be considered for enterprise rollouts, the following key requirements are essential to ensure that while 4G is being deployed today, the principles of 5G and its foundational blocks are taken into consideration.The need is for a faster, more reliable network that has low latency and most importantly, is private (secure) so data is not shared across the public network. Wi-Fi isn’t always the most secure service, which can be a concern for any business where it is crucial to keep customers information and data private.The network should be designed for capacity, quality of service and guaranteed service levels.The workloads must reside locally within the enterprise and be orchestrated from a managed service cloud data center.Regardless of consumption model (on-prem, cloud, hybrid) – the operations must be seamless across technology platforms, locations and administrative domains.Private Mobility-as-a-Service is a Key Enabler for the EnterpriseSome of the key values extended by private Mobility as-a-Service utilizing CBRS bands are as follows.Enhanced reliability: More reliable than Wi-Fi for business-critical communications, private Mobility-as-a-Service uses CBRS spectrum to guarantee low latency with a managed SLA model.Flexible licensing model: This solution is a subscription SaaS model where the service orchestration, subscriber provisioning, and dynamic spectrum allocation for the access points are all pre-built into the solution for the enterprise.Ubiquity: Given the architectural overlap between SD-WAN and private Mobility as-a-Service, the solution can coexist with the broad SD-WAN deployments. Our Solutions “in action” at DTWCome see all the capabilities of Enterprise Private Mobility as-a-Service “in action” and meet our experts at the DTW 2019 Event in Las Vegas. You can also get an update on associated webinars here.
Co-author: Damon EarleyIT Admins can realize significant time savings with up to 98% less hands-on time to update hypervisor and firmware¹We’ve often heard that the most precious resource is time. What if we told you that Dell EMC PowerEdge and VMware have teamed up to help your IT staff get a little more time back in their day? No, it’s not magic, although you may feel compelled to work on your next virtual party trick with all of the time savings that your IT staff will reap from using Dell EMC OpenManage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV) and vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM). Better yet, use the time saved to access more exciting content from the first-ever virtual VMworld 2020, including the PowerEdge and VMware on-demand technical session.Dell EMC PowerEdge and VMware have jointly innovated to give your IT staff the virtualization mathematics that really add up to true time savings. Earlier this year, VMware launched VMware vSphere 7 as vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM), which enables IT to deploy, manage and update both software and drivers in conjunction with a hardware support manager for hardware firmware using a desired state model. Dell EMC PowerEdge was one of the first server manufacturers to implement this epic new feature with our own hardware support manager, Dell EMC OpenManage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV). The results include some pretty impressive time savings for your IT staff, who like the rest of the world, are strapped for time. We’ll dive into those time savings but first, let’s talk about OMIVV.OMIVV is the systems management plug-in from Dell for vCenter, providing a unified view of physical and virtual servers for PowerEdge hosts running vSphere. With it, monitoring and lifecycle management of the physical server can be brought into the native vCenter user interface, helping provide a holistic view of your server resources. With vLCM and OMIVV, you can see a significant decrease in the total time it takes to run these updates. Benefits include:Reduced manual steps by setting up templatesRepositories that can be used repeatedly across many serversCommunication with vCenter to work with its software policies, like ProActive HA, DRS, and vSANCapability to leverage live migration policies, including for VMware vSANCustomers have maximum flexibility and control when patches and updates are deployed, with unified software and firmware lifecycle management. And they can do it simply within vCenter, a familiar and comfortable tool. With Cluster Profiles, both for legacy vSphere and with vLCM, monitor for compliance and drift automatically, and schedule updates from within vCenter.Based on this report by Principled Technologies, with vLCM and OMIVV, it took 98% fewer steps to update the hypervisor and firmware on an 8-node PowerEdge cluster.Number of steps to update both hypervisor and firmware across a cluster. Fewer steps are better. Source: Principled TechnologiesA lot of the steps to this process – defining the software image, what drivers are needed, what firmware needs to be applied – are generally done only a handful of times based on the specific servers are in the cluster. Leveraging vLCM’s new functions for setting the ESXi baseline and driver add-ons, along with hardware templates for server firmware, lets you set these things once, then use them across the environment. The overall time, as well as hands-on time, was also significantly reduced, per the chart below. Essentially, the admin time was reduced to under 4 minutes versus 3.5 hours manually.Time (h::mm:ss) to update both the hypervisor and firmware across a cluster. Less time is better. Source: Principled TechnologiesWhile we cannot jointly innovate or engineer more hours in the day, our commitment to our PowerEdge server customers using VMware vSphere, vSAN and Cloud Foundation is to help simplify and accelerate your hybrid cloud with new features such as vLCM. Learn more about our approach to lifecycle management with this on-demand PowerEdge and VMware breakout session at VMworld 2020, or visit our PowerEdge and VMware website.¹Principled Technologies report commissioned by Dell EMC, “New VMware vSphere 7.0 features reduced the time and complexity of routine update and hardware compliance tasks,” August 2020.